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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Life is Wild. Try to Keep Up

So, this morning I got into a minor commenting skirmish. Shots were fired, but it was more along the lines of children exchanging taunts on the playground than snipers slipping through the brush. A minor scuffle, with both parties leaving the field intact, the only injuries being to pride and tempers, and even those were slight. Embedded in the snarkfest (which I fully admit to engaging in- not trying to sling the blame elsewhere here!), was a jab at my blog's name.

Hmm... doesn't seem to capture my better side, does it?

"Life with Teens & Other Wild Things" apparently implies that my children are "wild". Out of control. Undisciplined. Disrespectful. Bad Kids. Therefore, by default, I must be a prime example of that internet pariah; a Bad Parent. I should totally think about changing my blog's name, so people don't get the impression that my kids are wild. Wouldn't want anyone thinking I'm a Bad Parent, now would I?

Well, the truth is, I am a Bad Parent. My kids are Wild. And you know what? I wouldn't change it, even if I could.

My kids are two of the most empathetic, kindest hearted people I've ever met. Despite being mercilessly harassed for several years by her own bullies, the one and only time Babygirl fought another kid in school was when she belted a boy because he punched her friend, Sarah, in the arm. Babygirl returned the favor, and bopped him a good one. Normally, I discourage fighting. I've told my kids that the only acceptable time to hit someone is if they hit you first. No exceptions. Except... Sarah has autism. She's high enough functioning that she's in regular classes, but limited in her ability to understand and take part in social interactions. So yeah.

Thing1 isn't always as quick as his sister to see the softer side of things, but go ahead and attack someone's religious, political, or personal beliefs in front of him. Not necessarily beliefs he agrees with, or holds himself, mind you, but anyone's right to believe and worship as they see fit. I dare you. This dog will fight if you rattle his cage, and he will defend your right to disagree with him as strongly as he'll defend his own opinions.

Are my kids perfect? HA!
When I stop laughing... I'll have to say... no. But then, how could they be? They sprang forth from imperfect parents, after all. (And, I will add that any parent who believes their little  princess-angel-cupcakes-sparkle-glitter-cannons are perfect is either delusional or lying through their professionally-whitened, impossibly-straight teeth.)

Oh, you have a perfect kid?
Let me introduce you to my unicorn. Watch out. He farts. 

I have good kids. Imperfect kids. Yes, they are wild. And that's ok with me, because their wild sides come out in good ways.

My parenting style has been haphazard at best. I've read so many books on parenting I could start a library... and I have a hash-mixture of different philosophies, advice, styles, and techniques. A few of them worked for us. A few were complete disasters. None were a perfect fit, but from the patchwork, I've pieced together a garment that at least covers the worst of our indecencies. Together, my kids and I have survived thus far. Not just survived. We've thrived.

We've been strong enough to face diagnoses of depression and anxiety. Rebuilding after a tornado that dropped a tree on our home and caused extensive destruction to our property. An expulsion from a school that was not prepared to deal with unique needs associated with the diagnoses. Homeschooling. The breakdown of a marriage and the loss associated with divorce. The loss of close friends and family members through death. Losses when friends moved away. A return to public school. Graduation from high school. The beginning of college.

"All the adversity I've had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me... You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you."
~Walt Disney

We've been on this Wild Ride together, and as long as we cling tight to one another, we've made it through everything life has thrown at us. Together, we ARE Wild Things, and I am proud to carry that title, along with all the scars that go along with it.

I wouldn't change a thing about this Life with Teens, and other Wild Things. Our story might not be white picket fences and June Cleaver aprons, but nobody watches those outdated, white-washed shows anymore, anyway. Long live the Wild Things. We're here to stay.

And, if you'd like to check out another Wild Parent, swing on over to KzooDad's blog, where he shares his adventures with his own Wild Things, and I occasionally trade snipes with other commenters. :)

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