Learning to Deal with Disappointment

Over the past couple weeks we have slowly seen our hopes dwindle of our children being able to return to school this Fall. The rising cases of COVID is quickly changing that for children all across the country. In our school system we were previously given a start date of August 26th. We were all so excited! My kids actually were looking forward to going back to school since they have not been since March when their world got turned upside down. Most kids dread the start of the school year, but I believe it can be said for everyone that our kids are actually really missing school . They miss their friends , they miss teachers, they miss the structure, the social interaction, and they just miss the normalcy . Normal, what a fantastic word!!! I never thought in my life I would strive so hard for things to be NORMAL!! Not fantastic, not mind-blowing , but just plain ole normal . Who would ever thought that I would miss the early morning chaos of getting ready, getting lunches packed, and trying get out of the door. However , I do. I miss those normal routines , and so do my kids.

So now, here where we live, the schools will start virtually. They are giving a possible start date for in-person classes as the end of September. Although, I feel like even this is wishful thinking. My kids were crushed with the news. My oldest was supposed to start her senior year in college and do her student teaching to complete her education degree. Now that will look much different. My other daughter started her Freshman year in college, and quickly her classes are all being changed to online classes. Another daughter was supposed to begin her first year in high school as a Freshman. And my baby daughter was beginning a new adventure into junior high. The way they all hoped would be the beginning, will now be done through a computer screen. Disappointing to say the least. So how do we deal with the disappointment and how do we help our kids learn how to deal with the disappointment?

Yesterday, my youngest daughter went to her 7th grade orientation at school. They divided the kids into small groups that way that could come in the school, meet their teachers, and learn to navigate their way in the school if they do get to go back in person. Abby did not get to see all her friends. She had to stay 6 feet apart from everyone, and she had to wear a mask the whole time she was there as well as get her temperature checked before entering the building. Was she disappointed about all this, yes of course. However, we did talk about how thankful we were that she got to even go into the school even if it was with a mask. She also got to meet her teachers in person, instead of online. And she at least got to see some of her friends, not all, but some. For all that we were truly thankful. It is important during this time of dispppointments that as parents, we help our kids find the positive things out of bad situations. We must help them find the light and the hope. If we speak negatively all the time about the situation then they in turn will be unable to appreciate even the small victories. Always be sure to pull out the good even if it is difficult. Looking at this picture, it is easy for me to feel sad that I can’t see her smile in this picture because of the mask, but I know it is there. Underneath that pink mask, is a huge smile that she got to experience a partial normalcy, even if it was just for a few hours. That made this mom smile big too!

I am making a effort to try to speak positively through the disappointments. I even made the choice to take my girls school shopping for new school clothes and school supplies. Why you may ask? Because it was our NORMAL. I did not want to give my kids any more disappointments. I wanted to help the expereince feel normal and give them something to look forward to. Do they need the clothes and supplies? Probably not for now, but I gave them hope. Hope that they may get to use them soon. Instead of concentrating on the disappointments I gave them a distraction and something to look forward to. Besides, they can still look cute online if they want to right?

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. There are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

The best thing we can do to help our kids deal with disappointment is to pray for them and to teach them to pray. Let them know they can cast their worries to God. Encourage them and pray for them. Pray that one day soon our “normal” lives will return. Until then, be a light for them and try to be the most positive influence in a disappointing time.

I pray each of you are covered with many blessings today.

Love and hugs,

Jennifer

Let them spread their wings

As a parent we all have many difficult roads that we must navigate throughout our children’s lives. Each new year that passes brings different challenges and stages that we must handle and learn from to help not only our children grow, but us as well. I remember when my girls were little that I would sit back and say I can’t wait until they get older. Why on earth would I say this? At the time, I was exhausted! Four little girls is no easy task, and also at the time I was attempting to run my very own business. The late night feedings, the diaper changes, the baths, cooking, cleaning, working, the drying of four heads of thick blonde hair was all I could handle. I thought if they were older and able to do more for themself that it would be easier for me. I thought I would have more time to work, more sleep, less to do, and maybe even have a little help with the chores. Boy, was I wrong on that one. My kids are older now 21, 18, 14, and 11. Are things easier? Absolutely not!! The things that exhausted me then, has only turned into a new set of things that are exhausting me now. Instead of staying up all night doing feedings, I stay up all night worrying if they make it home after being out. Instead of worrying about just feeding them, I now feed them, a bunch of friends, and even boyfriends. The laundry has quadrupled and the expenses have gone up!! Clothes, shoes, bags, and makeup. Y’all the makeup, let me tell you the makeup is crazy! How many eyeshadow palletes do you need?

As you see, things do not get easier. Each stage our children enter brings a whole new set of challenges that we must cope with and learn from. I do believe that with these challenges, both ourselves and are children will be able to grow as we gain insight into the different stages we are experiencing. As a mother of four I can speak to the fact that I have grown tremendously from that young mother who was exhausted just trying to keep my little ones alive. Now, that my kids are older I can see I have gained so much wisdom, strength, and clarity in the different moments in my children’s lives.

I hit one of those milestone stages this past weekend. We moved my second daughter, Emma Grace, to her college dorm. Yes, the dreaded moving them out of your home. Although she’s not too far (just a few hours away) it still feels like a huge part of my heart is ripped right out of my chest. I know I will be able to still see her often, but it is the fact that I know that this is it. More than likely, she will never officially live back in our home permanently. She now is beginning her independence . Although I’m excited for her I’m also very sad. My time with my chubby curly haired baby quickly flew by. How did she become this beautiful independepent woman in a blink of an eye?

Saturday was a hard day. Letting go is hard, especially as a parent. We want to just be able to hold on to that hand just a little bit longer. However, as I have grown as a parent I have learned the importance of letting go even if it is one finger at a time. With each new stage our kids go through we have to learn a little bit about how to let go. When they take their first steps we have to trust they can do even if we have to let them fall some. When they learn to ride a bike, we have to let go so they can learn to pedal and balance on their own. When they learn to drive, we have to turn over those car keys and pray they will be ok. Now, when they go to college we must learn to say our goodbyes and trust they will make good choices. All the stages are hard and each one of them consists of letting them fail in some way. Yes, failure is a part of life and something we have to teach our children. The awesome part is after they fall, you get to see them fly. They spread their wings. They gain confidence in their own abilities and they learn to grow with the freedom of being able to fly on their own.

Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6.

So as parents hanging on to dear life to our children, we must place our children in God’s hands and let them soar. Every stage, every new moment, every breathe we need to let them be the people they are meant to be and learn to grow as individuals from the falls and victories in their life. Our children need to spread their wings and fly. So in that I say to my beautiful girl, Emma Grace, fly high little butterfly and I am so very proud of you.

I pray that all those out there letting go today are covered with peace, strength, love, and many blessings.

Love and Hugs,

Jennifer