I started counting the days ’til Rusty would leave for his mission at 3 years, 6 months and so many days. Looking back now, his strong will and constant pushing of the limits was easier to live with than an unmotivated child, but at the time I was overwhelmed.
Once he had left for college we began to draw closer as our weekly phone conversations gave us the one-on-one opportunity to communicate. he started recognizing the validity of things I’d preached to him about. And I have recognized that a "strong will" is helpful for "standing for truth and righteousness" in todays world and for ambishously pursuing education, career, even traveling the world, and just navigating life.
Born with elements of our personalities Rusty was also born with dark hair, long dark eyelashes, and a dimple, too. I used to look at him in the rear view mirror as I drove around and thought "This kid is too cute to be my child. But if they got him mixed up in the hospital and we find out later, I’m NOT trading!"
With 3 older sisters and 2 younger brothers, Rusty could have gotten lost in the crowd but his determination helped him to stand out and get where he wanted to go.
Yes, I was overly thrifty then (we had more money in those days than we do now and we didn’t want our kids to become spoiled brats) but I felt paying too much for things was a waste of money. Rusty had an unusual passion for shoes so we gave him a budget for the year. If he blew it all on one pair then there was no more for that year (which he did once on some Nike Air Jordans) We learned that spending on quality often is worth the investment. (especially for active boys shoes) So Rusty’s motto of "you only cry once when you buy quality" is if not accepted, at least recognized.
One of my many regrets is that I wish when he blew in from school each day I’d asked him about the best thing (and even the worst) that happed that day instead of reminding him to get his work done before he went with friends. I’m grateful he sees the benefits and doesn’t harbor resentments.
In a letter from his mission he expressed astonishment that all the girls he knew in his freshman year were getting married. he stated "these are girls who can’t open an ironing board or cook a burrito in the microwave!" I’m glad that getting the boys to help with the cooking resulted in such things as Rusty saving date money by whipping up his famous mannicotti for them rather than dinner out.
"Logical consequences" was my mantra for raising children and if there wasn’t a natural consequence, I would create one so they could learn from their choices. My husband Don, thinks we were given good children to begin with so we wouldn’t screw them up. They’ve certainly turned out to be wonderful adults.
Maybe every mother has regrets. I wish I would have hugged more and punished less. I wish I would have talked with them more and not yelled so much. But we were all blessed that I could be an at-home-mon. Maybe the real reason grandchildren come after children is so you can givem them hugs and kisses and conversations for those we missed giving before.
Yes, truely, I’m no pinacle of virtue but my six children and ten (so far) grandchildren are my precious jewels in my crown of glory!!
Thank you Rusty,
P.S. I’m off the phone with Angie now, so you can call me back for Mother’s Day.