Sep 27, 2013

Human Kindness, it's Overflowing.

I am so sorry. I feel like I've been writing a lot of depressing posts lately.

My heart is feeling a lot right now. I think it's hard to feel so much at once. Today I need to talk about something that won't be easy to read about. Some people would say it's silly or even self-indulgent to get caught up in stories of suffering. But sometimes they just find us. And my counter-thought has always been, yes, it's almost like asking for suffering, to grieve for people who I have no direct connection to. But how honest is it to pass over their stories, their lives and experiences? We grieve, reading of these things. How do you think the people going through it feel? How does a baby, who comes into this world from a warm, nurturing environment with fresh eyes and a heart open to love and soak up nurturing like a thirsty sponge, feel when his world provides pain, fear, and coldness.

Today I'm grieving for Kyle.

Kyle is a beautiful baby boy, born only a little while ago. He was brought to live in a baby home, sponsored by a nonprofit organization so that he could be cared for and nurtured until a family was found who wanted him. And a family did--they saw his picture and wanted him. They fell in love with him. He happened to have been born in Russia and they happened to be Americans, but they knew he was theirs and they wanted, badly, to bring him home and love him.

They waited as paperwork took time, as court procedures took time. They finally got to visit him. They took lots of pictures and held him. And then, because of some bad press focused on scarce-minority cases where American parents abused or abandoned their adopted children from Russia, Russia decided to ban any more adoptions to America. Including adoptions that were in process. Including baby Kyle.

He was taken from his baby home, where there was warmth and food and some nurturing attention, and put in a mental institution. Because he has Down's Syndrome, that's where he was put.

Here's a picture of Kyle that his parents took of him when they visited, and a photo they were sent at some point after he'd been in the institution for a while.

The caption is an angry one. IT adds to my sadness. But these parents, imagine how they feel. And imagine what Kyle felt when suddenly, he had nobody smiling at him anymore, nobody feeding him, nobody protecting him. He was starved, and beaten. And day before yesterday, he passed away.

He's in a better place now. But I look at the beauitful baby to the left and can't help but feel Heavenly Father wanted something different for him. The baby to the left reminds me of my own little baby boy. Those eyes, that expression, exactly. The baby to the right, I can't think of without feeling like my heart is bleeding into my chest.

And this song is how I feel sometimes, when I try to figure out, to comprehend, how people can do things like this, or even allow such things to happen.

Kyle's story catches at me and rips me apart because I see baby Chumba in his eyes. The way I saw Jaws and Loli in Bella's and MayMay's faces the first time I saw their pictures. But this happens to thousands of small babies and children everyday. And I think it's going to rain today.

Sep 19, 2013

Adoption Adjustment: Sometimes Success is All About Expectations.

I want you to imagine something for a minute.

Imagine that you live in a large building full of boys and girls, some older than you, some younger. There are a few adults around--nice adults, busy adults. You can only remember living here since you've been born, but you've been told all your life that if you're cute enough, if you're accomplished enough, if you are lucky, somebody might take you home and make you a part of a family.

Imagine being filmed dozens of times to be in videos that you know are going to people who might pick you.

Imagine watching people come and take home girls and boys. Imagine what you might think about, what you might do, what you might want or dream about. Remember you've always only lived in this place--lots of kids, a few nice adults. Hopefully enough to eat everyday. Perhaps school, if it is in a country that can support that.

Then one day you're told a family has "chosen" you, that they're completing paperwork, that in a year or so you get to go home with them. Imagine your thoughts, feelings. What would you feel? Be honest with yourself.

You get pictures from them, these strangers, and gifts. You prepare by learning some English. You might already know a little, depending on what sort of place you're in, but now you know how important it is. You realize (but still don't fully realize) that your language is going to change, that your life is going to change.

And then they come, and in a whirlwind of confusing events involving lots of driving and looking and courts and proving and paying and signing, you're trying to feel comfortable with these strangers. You're trying not to feel overwhelmed because this is what you wanted, right? You're one of the lucky ones.

And then imagine going to a new place where you can't understand anyone, where everything is so different, the rules are different, where people seem to be frustrated with you and even angry at times, even these strangers who you're starting to trust a little. You miss, badly, the comfort foods you're used to--flat sourdough bread with spicy stews, or spicy bean paste and meat-filled dumplings. You miss your friends. You feel confused enough to cry because of all the subtle differences--electrical outlets, cars, streets, books, movies, expectations. You feel confused enough to wonder what you've done... what they've done to you. Why are you the lucky one?

I'm writing this, and asking you to imagine, because I feel it is so important for people to understand how adoption really works. Adoption really is a miracle. It is. It is amazing. Having a loving family committed to you, to your welfare individually, committed to love and care for you, is what each person, each child should have. But I think sometimes adoptive parents don't think hard about what is going on in the heart of their child. They expect the kids to be so grateful, to cling to them, to never want to go back. And in some cases that does happen. But more often, I think, is the sort of reaction you'd expect from yourself; from anyone who is so severely uprooted, who is suddenly expected to change lives and change allegiances and languages and find new favorite foods and find new friends and even, to some degree, find new ways of thinking about the world.

My little girl MayMay kicked my shin all the way across the atlantic. And I wasn't surprised.

For several months after we brought them home, my two girls spoke about Ethiopia like it was some kind of fairy-tale place they had left, with sparkles and wonderful food and wonderful people they missed.

Different kids will have different challenges about adjusting depending on their age & experiences. Consider a toddler. My three-year old gets upset if I don't give her just the right stuffed animals and blanket for her bed at naptime. How hard is it for a three year old to adjust to new everything? I would expect some tantrumming, some behavioral problems, some deep, deep grieving.

What about a baby? My babies only want to be held by strangers for a few minutes at a time before they turn and reach for me. It takes several sessions of time with someone new for them to enjoy being talked to, held, cuddled by another person. Imagine a baby suddenly being placed in the arms of a stranger, and then walking everywhere for several days with them, spending nights in a hotel room, then flying for twelve hours or more, then being spoken to and loved on by people who sound different, look different, who this baby has never met in his or her life before.

What about a kid? My kids tend to enjoy new experiences, but they always are relieved to come back home. My 11 year old's favorite way to relax is to find her favorite book, lay on the couch and read and read and read after a long, stressful day. Imagine you've brought home an 11 year old. They come home from a long day of school, where they've been expected to learn everything in a new language and make friends with people who can't understand them. When they get home, are they going to want to spend a lot of time talking to you? They might like a hug, but they may more likely want some time to themselves, to make new comfort zones, to create new ways to be safe and diffuse from all the pressure they're experiencing.

I don't mean this post to seem in any way negative toward adoption. I am writing this because this morning I posted a video on Facebook of a boy who is about to age out of the adoption programs in China. It was a heartfelt, tear-jerking video. He so badly wants to be adopted.

I got to thinking about my friends who might consider adopting him, and I began to feel a little uneasy. Would they go into it thinking that this boy will be so grateful, won't struggle, won't sometimes be angry or confused or even say, at times, he wishes he hadn't been adopted? If my friends were to go into it with that expectation, the likelihood they'd be disappointed is pretty high.

Adoption is a miracle. Taking a child into your family who wasn't born to you biologically, particularly a child who has been alone, who has struggled, whose last hope you are, is a huge, huge blessing to them. And also to you. But what i hope my friends can realize is, it's a blessing that comes in stages. It is not easy. It takes work, and forgiveness, and understanding.

Like anything else in this world, adoption is a miracle that comes from sacrifice... sometimes extreme sacrifice. I have friends and family who have really struggled in their adoption adjustments. But ask any of them if they'd still have done it? Almost without exception the answer is yes.

Just writing my heart today, but comments, experiences, thoughts are welcome.

Sep 15, 2013

Update on Greenhouse Project & Unexpected (and Rather Biblical) Blessings...

SO, we have the windows. We are in the process of figuring out how to acquire our other needed supplies--cement, cinderblocks, lumber. And we've gone to the city to figure out what sort of permit we need (pretty much just a general one, which we're combining with the permit for our fencelines.)

I admit, this project is weighing on me. I want to get it done before winter. I want to start growing veggies as soon as our outside-garden dies. But in good news there, we have tomatoes, spinach, lettuce in abundance, lots of beets, lots of badishes (my word for the wierd oblong radishes we chose to grow this year) carrots, squash and even a couple of watermelons (right now about baseball size).

This last week, I canned/dehydrated 2 boxes of pears, 2 boxes of peaches, and a few pounds of apples.

And then a big surprise came over the weekend. A neighbor brought home 100 dead pheasants/partridges in the back of his truck from his friend's bird-shooting ranch. He needed to find people to take them and eat them or he'd throw them away. You know the one way to get my ethical vegetarian husband to be willing to use meat? Tell him you're going to waste it otherwise. He went over and claimed 25 lbs of partirdges and pheasants, mourning over the fact that people would just go shoot for fun & then throw away birds like they're garbage. He and I spent our date night deskinning/defeathering, dismembering, disemboweling and decapitating these birds. And now we have a lot of meat in our freezer.

The funny thing is, we'd just had a conversation the week before about how our girls are looking a little peaky & tired, & they're perched on the edge of adolescent growth spurts, and I (after much stewing internally) told Jeff I felt we needed to add meat into the diet. Just sparingly... once a week, in a stew or casserole or something. But I've felt like this is right. JEff's counter argument was that he felt that meat would do more harm than good. They pump those chickens so full of hormones & antibiotics. He felt our girls would be in danger of breast cancer and other ailments if we started exposing them regularly (instead of rarely, at others' houses or at ward parties) to meat.

I guess this was Heavenly Father's way of answering my prayer.

It seems kinda old-testamenty to me.

Harry Potter debate....

So, I am a complete nerd. I read Harry Potter about once a year. Jeff actually thinks I read it not once a year, but once per pregnancy... I get cravings for Harry like others get cravings for ice cream and pickles, and there are some who'd say the cravings are comparable in strangeness, too... (well, maybe not. I think everyone likes Harry Potter.) But anyway, with the same sort of passion a hormonal pregnant woman might defend her ice-cream-and-pickles, I inserted myself into a conversation about Harry Potter. With much the same overall effect... Click here if you want to join in.

(BTW. The person who wrote this post is pretty awesome. And she and I like a lot of the same books, So. That's why I had to debate with her about Harry.)

Sep 10, 2013

stinky laundry piles

I named this post the way I did because I don't want people (namely my immediate family) to come over and read it. SOmetimes I feel a bit like there are people in my life who I should be close to, who I am not for sad reasons, but who like to go read about how I'm feeling because i don't tell them. And I feel sucky about that. Just so anyone reading this knows up front, this is not a casual, professional, cheery or happy-go-lucky post. If you go on and read this you are reading some very personal stuff. If you're not interested or a bit disgusted that I would post something so personal for a general audience to find and read, you're welcome to stop reading at this very moment. I actually am a very private person, and don't share my real feelings a lot. But I feel a need to today, and this for some reason is a place that seems to work for me, a lot.

A warning, I will be using words in this post I don't generally use. My LDS friends who might read this will probably be like, Sarah. How completely immature and vulgar you're being. I'm dissappointed in you. ANd my non LDS-freinds will be like, Girl, you've got some serious repression issues if you can't even let off one bible swear. Whatever.

I have a problem every year about this time of year. It's a serious problem. I find that in writing about it, I feel a bit more capable of grieving properly. And for some reason, writing when I know people are going to read it helps me write with more clarity and really be able to know what I'm feeling. It sucks. IT'd be nice if I could just do it on my own, but. For some reason, writing about stuff when I know people will read it really does help me figure things out much better. I really am a writer, I guess. I think best in that medium.

But I don't want my immediate family to read this. SO Mom, Dad, any sisters and brothers, please stop now, because this is a vent and it won't be fair to you and you will come away feeling hurt by it when you shouldn't because really, you are wonderful people who do the best you can and are wonderful people. Mom, if you are reading this i know you're going to read all the way to the end and then freak out & want to call or text or write or something, but the thing is, that makes me feel worse. I don't enjoy that kind of nurturing at all (the freak-outy-kind.)

So today's the first day of real fall. I can feel it in the air--the drop in temperature at night, the frosty morning tang etc. I used to think this happened to me every year around BYU homecoming time because of the date, but since moving up here to Idaho and having it happen about a month earlier I realize it has more to do with change of seasons. When the leaves start to turn, I start to feel really, really sucky. The first day of real change is the hardest for me. I need a name for it, I realized this morning when i woke up with this sad, extremely-stressed-out and hopeless feeling inside.

some candidates:

Which has the best ring to it? Maybe I should be looking at achronyms... no, none of them really work.

I used to love this time of year. I got really excited for school to start, and the change in season made me happy and full of energy. And honestly, there's a piece of that still. It makes things quite confusing. Energy, excitement, extreme stress and depression. Well, not depression because that's scary blankness. I guess sadness is the right word. And grieving.

About this time eleven years ago my husband (not current, previous) packed up half the house and left. And then came back and our lives fell apart. And then I was in charge of getting an education, raising an 8-month-old-baby, holding down a job, running away from a lot of television cameras, testifying in court, dealing with a baby who would not eat and was getting skinnier and skinnier, looking down a long list of strangers and praying really hard to find the right name on the list for the right person I could pay that would be a good pretend mom for my baby while I did what i had to do and got a degree and made money, feeling scarily, completely, utterly blank emotionally so that now, looking back on it, i feel everything I was feeling at the time: Grief. Complete, utter grief. My baby.

that was the biggest grief.

The husband I could handle offloading. HE'd gotten abusive and mean. He was manipulative and I could tell he didn't particularly want to make it work except as an act to look good in front of others. No, I'm not being unfair. NObody really understands him the way I do. I was married to him for 2 years. I think that's partly why he tried to get rid of me... he felt very threatened at the level of understanding that develops between husband and wife. And I loved him. For a long time. For as long as I could, until I had to focus my attention and energy on something else, something helpless, something he was hurting.

I wrote a poem about it, that nobody has wanted. I think partly because it's not a good poem because it's written so much about me and her, and therefore is too emotion-laden to be anything but sappy and sentimental and completely obscure because i can't talk about these things to strangers. (well, except for random strangers who have, in this case, been forewarned and know what they're reading.)

Your bones are laid in graves
of porcelain; your name in
in nests of tax returns

I forget you, but I won’t
forget her, or the day
I turned those papers in my hands and
wished the circle far away.
May it be unbroken, now.
May it turn to gold
and let the Lord’s anointment flow
along my red-raw hand.

What you could take from me
you took. And I gave back mine
as Leah sang so ardently
of solitude—

I wish it. Leave me without thoughts
of nighttime spars, of dreams
too plastic for my loyalty.
The patient moon; it beams
down on the pale face of our child:
blood, on your hands. It means
a suffering too great to bear
do you know what it means?—

Two years of our skeletons,
her ribs that showed too clear, and
her eyes that asked me questions:
who. Why. Where.

Do you remember where you were
that night, that day the leaves
came down in cyclones on her hair?
I spooned your iniquities
through her open lips; you held me
then. But now, oh now—
what grief I hold, In memories.

I look back on that time and realize that Heavenly Father really helped me a lot. He helped me not to feel; that was the biggest blessing at the time. I had to not feel to be able to do everything I had to do. And I did the right stuff. I made choices that lead me to Jeff, Heavenly Father helped me do that. But He's let me feel more and more each year, at this time of year. It's like all those feelings are still there and He's letting them vent slowly, as I can handle it. And apparently last year was the time to ask for help, because I nearly fell apart completely under their pressure.

This next part I'm worried about writing because I love my family and truly, really do feel they've always done the best they can by me. The problem is, they're broken as well. My mother has made heroic emotional sacrifices to raise me. My father has made heroic efforts to protect me from what *his* parents did to *him* emotionally.

But I still can't feel safe going to them with emotional vulnerability. My mother's reaction is to freak out. I almost feel like she gets an emotional high from being in a state of emergency, and that makes me feel dirty, cruddy, a bit peeping-tommed-at. My dad just doesn't talk about stuff. Ever. Except for things that aren't vulnerable. The few times I've tried with him, I've felt his extreme discomfort (or maybe it's my own lack of trust, that i'm projecting on him?) and backed away because it makes me feel like my feelings must make me an indecent person--that I would have them and worse still, need to talk about them.

I had so many people ask me why I didn't just "run home" when everything happened to me, and my answer to them has been because i knew i needed to stay in Provo. But my real answer is, I didn't want to. I couldn't. I can't imagine worse emotional torture than going back home, to that house, to those people who can't really handle vulnerability and stress, would have been. At least away from all that I could take charge of my future and have solitude to be very, very broken.

I couldn't even talk to my sisters. They lived with me for a bit. I remember listening to one of them vent and cry about a boyfriend they were having troubles with. They could talk to me. But when I tried to talk about my emotional struggles, they coudln't handle it--they'd shut me off with a chastisement or just even "I can't handle thinking about this, Sarah. I'm sorry."

yeah. Me too.

I think when I grieve this time of year, I'm grieving feelings of complete abandonment, nowhere to go emotionally, as much as I grieve what happened to my daughter and all the horrible stress I went through.

I have a wonderful best friend husband now. I woke up this morning and told him that I felt awful because the air is getting colder and he knew what I meant. I also have a wonderful best substitute Dad now, who is capable of giving hugs and listening and even sharing back--sharing his own stress and struggles with me, which I find to be the biggest gift ever. My husband, my IdaDad. These two are the greatest gifts Heavenly Father has given me. And my kids. My kids warm my heart and make things better. As they knelt around our bed today to do morning prayer, I realized that they do make it better. What a wonderful feeling I have when I see and am around them--joy. It balances out all the suckiness.

Most days.
Today I feel very angry at ex. I don't like those feelings, because it means I'm still letting what he did control me, and it's admitting he hurt me. He'd probably secretly be a little thrilled to know that. And no, I'm not making that up. The world, for him, was kind of like a video game where he was the protagonist and he was on a quest and he likes to have control or feel he's made some large, dramatic impact. Well, he has, but he's not getting anything from me to satisfy him. (unless he randomly came across this, I suppose.) Well in that case, I just have to write something else to him: you are small. you are a little boy. you have no idea what it is to be human, and I feel pretty sorry for anyone who you are close to right now. Until you get up off your a** and realize you're not the only person on this planet and you're not nearly as "special" as you think you are, you're not really human. And you don't deserve for people to care about you. ANd you're not getting anywhere near my daughter; not you, not anyone close to you.

The problem with suck-aversaries is that they are real, they hit you, you have no control and feel pretty puzzled by how crappy you feel. It literally is like there's a vent opened up inside you that's normally mostly closed off, and feelings and pain pass through you without your instigating, or being able to control, them. It's important to heal, I know. It sucks to heal. It hurts to heal.

Crying I haven't done a lot of. I think feelings have to loosen up and ease up a bit for crying to happen in my case--I go so easily from "fine" to "OK, my heart is now shutting down." The in-between is what I need--where I can feel feelings and really just cry. SO, hopefully writing this helped.

...vent over.

And yes, Laundry also sucks.

not tweeting, sharing or tagging this post. SO if you've read it... sorry, or thank you, or something. Maybe there are a few out there who have their own suck-a-versaries and will be relieved they're not the only one. Maybe some people who end up reading this will be kinder to those around them and give stressed out people more slack. Maybe there's a single mother in your ward who needs an arm around her shoulder or an ecouraging word. OK, so, I'm just justifying having written this.

(i do feel better)

Sep 6, 2013


So, the latest cute behaviors of baby Chumba are:

1) he used to say no, even when he meant yes. THen he started nodding and saying no, to differentiate it from just saying no when he really meant yes. It's a little confusing but we get it.

2) He still really loves me a lot. He'll lift up his arms when he sees me and say "mum? Mum?" And smile really big when I smile at him. He comes and cuddles with me. And when he wants something he has this string of babble he lets off, ending with the sound "ow." He loves the "ow" dipthong. Not sure why. But it's pretty cute.

3) He still wants to nurse. But I decided it's time to stop for good, when he bit me really good the other day. The kid has molars... I don't want to have to take myself to the emergency room to get embarrassing stuff sewn back on. Last night he pointed at my shirt and started trying to spread apart the neckline and I said "no nurse," and he sat back and gave me this very hurt, indignant look. I asked him if he wanted a bottle and he immediately said "Deh-Doo," (thank you) and started looking around so I think he was just thirsty.

4) He loves balls as much as our pet dog does. Sometimes it causes problems.

5) He loves putting his little tennis shoes on. He'll stretch out his legs so it's easier for me to put them on, and when I set him on the ground he likes to stomp so he can hear the echo of his shoes on the floor.

6) He loves to get crazy and wild playing with his brother Squirt and sister Rose. They all laugh like maniacs. Sometimes (usually) I have no idea what they're laughing about....

7) When someone's crying/upset, he becomes very solicitous, going over to them with wide eyes, watching them for a few minutes, then lays his head on their lap or shoulder, or tries to give them a hug or kiss.

8) These:

Sep 4, 2013

On the importance of learning Obdience (another controversial topic)

I grew up in a rather strict and unworldly environment. We lived out in the middle of nowhere, me and my sisters and brothers, and we loved it. We had five acres to play and imagine on, and we weren't allowed to watch any television except on Friday nights, and our supply of movies was, for a while limited.

Our parents also expected complete obedience from us. As oldest, I got to be the kid to break the path, so to speak. I was a good kid who wanted to be obedient. But as all kids, or people who have been kids, know, it isn't always easy. Sometimes you waaaant stuff. Or even need stuff, and a parent doesn't quite get it--that need, the deep and cutting level of the want.

My husband's family was more lenient I think. Though he grew up in a similarly isolated situation (made even more so by the fact he was homeschooled) his parents weren't quite as authoritarian. Though I think his mother and father do expect obedience as well.

For me, it's a gut-thing. I feel strongly like all of my kids need to learn this. That when mom or dad asks, your answer is "yes." You can ask a question or two, but when you get those things cleared up, if discussion hasn't lead to a different answer, you stop arguing and go do it. And if you've been given a rule to follow, you follow it.

I had a difficult moment with one of my children yesterday. She is the one who has the most difficult time obeying. I think a lot of it is her personality--she is very conscientious and likes to make sure things happen in the right way. She's a good leader. She'll be a good mom someday. (But she's not the mom yet.) I also think adoption issues play into it--the need to control, to get her own needs met, and to have been deprived so severely of not just wants but needs makes "want" a burning, driving thing inside her at times. She has a very difficult time being told "no." She'll ask and ask, ask different ways, beg and plead, counter every argument I can come up with and eventually, throw tantrums or get angry.

We've talked a lot about how her "wants" are big. And how that's usually what gets her into trouble--when she does something because she's letting what she wants take over her being, and make choices for her. We've struggled with her hoarding stuff of other kids, for instance, of her (often quite successfully) convincing others to give up prized possessions. I've heard her be pretty mean when want is driving her.

And it's not her. It's her wants, speaking through her. We've talked about it a lot.

Yesterday when they were walking home from school, a friend offered a ride on her bike. This daughter has really missed her bike, because the tire cracked at the beginning of summer and we haven't gotten around to repairing or replacing it yet. She loves riding bikes. She has even been riding her 5-year-old brother's bike, hunched over the tiny handlebars, slow, tottering training wheels and all. Bike-riding for her=giant, burning want.

So instead of following the rule that she needs to stay with her sister to walk home for safety reasons, she agreed to ride on her friend's bike.

Her sister told me what happened when they got home, and her response wasn't sorrow at what she had done, it was anger that her sister "told." And the thing that worried me most was her just utter lack of concept of her own misdoing. With her, sometimes it's like she has her own sense of what she should and should not do, and my guidance and authority doesn't even factor in, if she feels her own need (or want) trumps it. (I know this is also an adoption issue. An insecurity issue.)

Long discussions and room-confinement and new strict procedures ensued. We talked about how I need to be able to trust that she'll obey our family's rules outside our home. That if I can't trust that, I can't put her in situations where she's left alone. I'll have to bring her to school, pick her up from school, drop her off at church activities... that in fact, if I can never trust her to obey rules, she'll end up leading a pretty boring life until she leaves my house.

It made me think back on my own childhood/teenagerhood. I remember being given fairly strict rules. The only one I can remember ever purposefully violating was one my mother gave us about leaving campus to have lunch. Seniors at my high school were allowed that privilege. All my friends did it on a regular basis. So my choice was to eat lunch alone, or go with them and get lunch. I made the choice to disobey and go get lunch. For me (a painfully shy and self-conscious teenager, to whom the idea of being seen eating lunch alone seemed completely embarrassing) my need to be with friends at lunch was desperate enough to outweigh my desire to obey that particular rule. Was it OK? Nope. Not OK. But I understand what my kids are going through.

What I'm trying to do right now is figure out how to teach obedience and give rules that are actually follow-able. Walking home with your sister after school should be pretty easy. Right? Well... but my daughter's want for bike riding made it much harder for her to make that decision correctly. Perhaps if I'd replaced her bike tire, spent some attention on that want of hers, she wouldn't have been as tempted to disobey my rule.

Parenting. It's a learning process from both sides.

And it's so complicated sometimes.

And sometimes it makes me feel frightened. I think down the line and wonder about other rules: going out with boys, avoiding parties with alcohol, etc. And I feel again this need to teach my kids now, while they're influence-able, why it's important to obey rules and trust parents. At the same time, I also need to remove myself eventually from feeling responsible for their choices. But that's the point; now's the time to teach. If I don't teach now, I *will* be partly responsible for poor choices later.

And that, folks, is my rambling, still-being-formed, heartachey set of feelings on this topic.