A Mom’s Reply for Rusty

Don - May 17, 2006

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,

Love Mom

P.S. I’m off the phone with Angie now, so you can call me back for Mother’s Day.

5 Comments »

  1. After 19 years of hard work, who ended up being the REAL beneficiary of that good parenting??? I DID. And I will always be grateful to my mother-in-law for that. Thank you.

    Comment by Sara — May 17, 2006 @ 3:32 pm

  2. Hey, you’re my hero now :)

    Comment by annegb — May 17, 2006 @ 9:33 pm

  3. “I wish I would have hugged more and punished less. I wish I would have talked with them more and not yelled so much. ”

    I try to walk this fine line with my strong willed 8 year old daughter. She is so completely different than me.
    I always wonder if I am messing up. What if I am talking to her too much and not punishing enough?
    I just read somewhere that when we are busy trying to give our kids what we didn’t have we sometimes neglect to give them what we did have.
    I actually would love to be just like my parents. But my daughter is not like me. And it is 30 years later.
    When she makes mistakes I have to wonder am I supposed to show her love because she already feels so bad for her mistakes? Or will she make more because I just talk about things instead of punishing?
    She could probably spend her whole life punished. I have tried to balance it out by rewarding her for all the positive things she does, things her brother does not do. Does that even things out because she gets punished more than him?
    Sure, you can wish you had punished less, but are you sure he would have been the great person he is today if you hadn’t punished? Are you sure he wouldn’t have been a little more lazy, or a little more inconsiderate, or a little less responsible?
    Go ahead and remember why you punished. Why you yelled. You taught him what was not acceptable behavior.
    I look at my three kids and they are all so different. And it is such a monumental task. There is no way to do it perfectly.
    But I’ve got to do something!

    Comment by JKS — May 18, 2006 @ 1:37 am

  4. Ok, ok. I get it. Rusty was the best boy you had and I’m not good enough because I’m not as rudely ambitious as he is. Oh, and I’m still not married being officially (as of Saturday) a menace to society…and to the family!!

    Comment by Bret — May 18, 2006 @ 1:58 pm

  5. Seriously though, I agree with everything Rusty and Amy said. Though we do have to remember that Rusty was the accident…er, I mean “surprise” in the family>:)

    Comment by Bret — May 18, 2006 @ 2:04 pm

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