South America – Day 99

Happy Birthday to Allyn!  Sometimes I can’t believe all that has happened in my life in recent years.  It has been a little over five years since I met Derick.  Four and a half years ago we bought a house to get ready for our life together with Christian, which began four years ago.  Three and a half years ago we had Aida, our only daughter.  Two years and one month ago Derick joined the Navy.  Two years ago today, Allyn was born.  In February it’ll be a year since I quit my job doing hair.  Then in August our youngest child, Brody was born and soon after Derick left for Cuba.  And here we are today.  Wow!  I feel like all I’ve been doing for the last 4 years is having babies.  I’m ready to move on to the next stage of my life.  I’m ready to raise the kids that I have and take care of my husband.  I’m ready to get in shape, in an effort to keep up with the kids that I have. 

One way I can do that is by encouraging my kids to try new things.  No, I’m not talking about just food, (although, in that area, I wish Allyn would try new things!)  It could be anything from cooking to mechanics, from music to sports, from computers to art.  I can already see that all of my kids have interests in all different things.  “When home is a research lab, I know I will encounter possibilities when I am at home.”  There are still skills that I want to learn from my parents but at the same time, I want my kids to learn those skills too.  Someday I really want to have a garden.  And from that garden I really want to learn how to freeze and/or can vegetables.  I want homemade stewed tomatoes to make chili with.  I want homegrown canned green beans to eat in the winter time instead of frozen from the store.  Everything just tastes better when you worked hard at making it yourself.  My mom knows how to do all of those things and I want her to show me everything she knows.  And, I want my kids to learn this skill too.      

Of all of my kids, I think Aida is the most interested in cooking.  When Derick left for BootCamp, Aida and Christian both wanted to help me with the cooking.  Aida turned 2 while he was away, but she was still a big help.  I could trust her not to touch hot things and to continue stirring a pot while I had my back turned for a few minutes doing something else.  Now Derick is gone again, and Allyn is that same age.  I, actually, don’t trust him at all in the kitchen.  I’m sure I will eventually, but he has no interesting in eating unless its pb&j, and certainly no interest in cooking.  Aida on the other hand cracks an egg better at 3 than Christian does at almost 8.  But that’s ok, because Christian is better at other things.  He has great interest in soccer and music.  He didn’t get to play soccer this year because I didn’t make it to the Christian Center to sign him up in time, and he was really disappointed.   Hopefully, there will be many other opportunities for that.  Christian also enjoys art.  He takes an art class after school on Monday nights, and really seems to love it. 

Anyway, I really want to be the kind of parent that can encourage my kids to try new things.  And not be discouraging when they want to try something just because I don’t know much about it.  I don’t want to discourage Christian from learning the guitar just because I may get a headache from listening to him for the first year.  And I don’t want to discourage Aida from learning to cook just because her first pot of chili may not taste like mine.  Even if they aren’t professional musicians or chefs when they grow up it is still helpful to have at least some skills in many areas.  Who knows, maybe someday, with a little encouragement my kids will be showing Derick the latest things on computers, instead of the other way around! 

One thing I took away from this chapter in my book, is that if my kids show an interest in something that I am not interested in, I need to work at being interested in it.  I think the same is true with our spouses.  Derick loves it that I have learned so much about baseball and the Cubs.  He loves that he can hold a decent conversation about Major League Baseball with his wife, of all people, and that every year for our anniversary, we plan to go to a Cubs game.    But, if I can’t do this for my life partner, how am I going to do it with my kids.  Derick and I really don’t know much about soccer, but if Christian continues to play through school, we need to learn so that we can sincerely encourage him to do his best.  “For the most part, kids need the opportunity to try many activities to discern their skills and interests.  When home is a research lab, it provides a perfect place for self discovery.”

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