Sometimes you just don’t know what you don’t know! I have found this to be true so many times in the last month. You think you know how to raise kids; after all we’ve successfully raised 3… but you grow into parenting with your kids! You learn their temperament and abilities as they grow; you build your tolerances around their deficits. Your family develops a unique character based on so many variables that you don’t even begin to quantify!
As we step into fostering I am astounded at the learning curve to understand the basics of an 11 year old and 13 year old! So many details to learn! They are unique and amazing in their own way… and so different from me!
One way this has been glaringly obvious has been in the food we eat! Our new kids are Canadian… born and raised in Canada, but their parents were not. Almost every meal we put on the table has been met with either pure scepticism (apparently meatloaf is ALWAYS bad on TV shows) or with an enthusiastic “I love burritos!!” and then halfway through the meal… “I’ve never had burritos before.” My food repertoire which I find incredibly tedious and mundane is a “culinary adventure for my taste buds” (she watches the food channel!!) for them! So many foods that we take for granted they are amazed by. And the fact they can have a sandwich every day for lunch makes them incredibly happy…
A trip to Ikea was mind blowing to them…every designed space they saw was exactly what they want their house to look like one day!! Their experience of the world has been very different from mine, and so I adapt to their tolerances and choose to see from their point of view. Their new favourite beverage is Blåbär juice…it’s a thing! Something new for all of us! It’s Ikea, look it up!!
As we navigate all this together I am thankful for my hubby! He is not an “other mother” he brings something completely different to the journey, and yet he is an equal partner in this new adventure! Although our differences have brought lots of challenges our way I am so glad he is not just like me! He gets them laughing, and teases them, and says all kinds of things about bodily functions that make me cringe…still just a boy at heart. And they look up to him and feel seen by him and I see them relax and trust and begin to blossom in our space! I’m not sure they have ever had a male interact with them in a casual and positive way before… that has not been part of their story!
A Dad is an incredible gift to children! To exist we all had a father and some of us had the blessing of a Dad who nurtured us and loved us and helped us feel seen! The entertainment industry has over represented Dads as bumbling idiots that cause more problems than they are worth more often than anything positive. This is not my reality! I have a Dad who was present and engaged with his wife and kids! My childhood was framed by a Dad who could do anything! And I still say it’s only truly broken if my Dad can’t fix it! My hubby has chosen to partner with me and love not only his own kids, but assorted others who have spent time in our home, and I have seen the difference it makes!
So this weekend let’s celebrate the Dads who mostly get it right, who keep on trying and who make a world of difference often by just showing up! Let’s hope the boys we are raising will see a different world in how men are treated, and how they treat women! Let’s hope the men in our lives are part of making that change! Most of all thank your Dad, and the Father of your children for being a part of your journey and let’s cheer them on in this increasingly complex world in which they live!!
In the midst of the mess,