Tuesday when the littles and I were headed back from the Grand Opera House to where we’d parallel parked (you may take a moment to be impressed–ha) on a side street, I saw this display in the window of a bookstore. As I stood there taking it all in, I thought about what Daddy said when I was expecting my first one, his first grandchild, eighteen years ago.
“Ain’t nobody gonna help you raise this young’un.”
Now my Daddy was an educated man, a wordsmith of sorts who did all kinds of cogitating and reading fascinating and in-depth works. However, he was smart enough to pass on this bit of wisdom in just this way, probably the same way it had been passed to him. I don’t know, maybe it’s his original thought and he just knew it would resonate better this way.
Because I’ve never forgotten it.
When folks gave my child the diet soda when she was very small instead of the juice I’d sent, I remembered this. When ThoseInCharge on the plane trips back and forth from Japan played Rated R movies on the overhead screens and I had to keep a constant check that she wasn’t watching (and therefore I could not sleep!), I thought about this. When one of her teachers questioned why I wasn’t letting her watch one of the popular tv shows at the time, I remembered Daddy’s words. When those who should have had her best interest first and foremost let her down time after time, yep, Daddy, I would think, you are SO right.
There have been so many times. Rules set by parents of peers–they give their children new cars while she is sharing Becky the Blazer with me. Children who had cell phones way before she did, and she just didn’t understand. Young people her age allowed freedoms that just aren’t okay with me. These folks just ARE NOT making it any easier for me in raising my child. Oh boy, was Daddy right. Nobody’s helping me here.
But then again…..
I look around now, today, just four weeks until her graduation. And I know what Daddy was saying, and yes, so many times it was true. I’m glad he told me that so I was a little prepared each time it happened. But I also know he was wrong in a lot of instances too. He himself proved the prophecy wrong. He and Mama have been huge in the “raising up” of my children. Their help was priceless and made a significant impact on the young woman about to embark on the next step in her journey. (Maybe his double negative was prophetic after all?)
There are others.
Family, our people, who take time to love unconditionally, as hard as that may be–and to laugh with me and at me in the challenges of parenthood
The teachers who empower and encourage her to think for herself–the ones who show her the door but let her open it herself
The folks in her life who helped her figure out what she believes and what she doesn’t and give her grace in changing her mind; those who help her on her faith journey, help her to develop strong faith so her steps won’t be wobbly as she continues upward
Those who take time to listen to her stories, people of all ages who love her and listen and call me on stuff as well (you know who you are)
Today I am thankful for those who have given her grace and love and a safe place and continue to do so. When the messages she gets from those around her fill her with doubt or sadness, there are people who ARE helping me raise her–our village people–the ones who hug her, who are on her side, who come out swinging the proverbial bat, saying, “Where are they? I got this.” Those are the ones I’m thankful for. And because of them–
The folks who ain’t gonna help me just don’t matter.
And for the record, no one got a book on Tuesday.