Parenting Payoff 

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

A funny thing has happened over my children’s holiday break this year – I think my son Danny has started to grow up (finally).  I might be premature declaring this, but why not he is 22 years old.  I must go back and give you a bit of history for it to mean anything.  I am sure there are some of you out there who have a child like my Danny.  He hit the terrible twos at about 18 months old and stayed there.  He was the busiest guy too – if you left him unattended, things would happen. He was mischievous, always into EVERYTHING, and never stopped moving or taking things apart. Whenever we went on a trip and left the kids home with a minder, he was always the one that got into trouble.  As he got older, high school in particular, he got into everything on a bigger scale.  We were on him to get good grades, had him play a team sport, trying to keep him engaged and “busy” and hopefully out of trouble.  ”Keep him alive on my watch” I joked to myself.  He was always the guy that had to learn the hard way.  He was grounded all the time.   

Even though I was sad leading up to his departure to college 4 years ago, the morning he left he overslept, over packed and forgot his ID (which he discovered on the way to the airport).  I hugged him at the airport, said call my cell if they don’t let you on the plane…and wished him good luck.  I turned around to get back in the car and thought whew, fly bird!  As I drove away I realized I didn’t even have my phone…I thought he would figure it out and he did.   

He is by far “the youngest” in our family…but all of the “good stories” in our family are usually about him. He is a charming, charismatic character with a big smile and laugh.  I did feel like our hands were bleeding holding the reigns with him all these years, but it seems like it might have paid off.  We knew being strict with him was our only option.  I always told him he dictated the way we parented him, but I guess he had his path.

We have now spent 4 weeks of Christmas break together, the whole family, and he is emerging as the man we always knew he could become.  Now he is the one giving advice to his siblings. Just last weekend our younger son was in trouble and my husband and I had sat down in the living room to talk about what was going on and Danny couldn’t stand not being in on it and putting in his two cents, antidotes and lessons he learned the hard way in his high school years. He was bright, logical, articulate and kind. I felt like there were 3 parents in the room…It was TOO much! I felt so proud to see how much he had changed.   

I thought of writing this blog to all you moms out there with the “crazy ones”…hang on, it will get better. They will come out the other side awesome people!