Human Interest, Opinion, Reflection, Revelations, The Children

Don’t Let Doubt be the Guide

You know I ask myself all the time, “you have a 154 IQ and for some reason you can’t seem to make sense of why children don’t obey the rules?” I don’t come by this conundrum because I don’t understand that children lie; I come to it at the end of a very frustrated trial and error approach. You see, I mean what I say. There are immediate consequences for not following the rules. Yet every time I enforce consequences or they have a naturally, kids are shocked? Exasperated? As if they have no understanding at all that they can control whether or not they are in trouble!? How does this happen?

It takes me back to the Bill Cosby show days when his wife would get completely unwound because of the intense disrespect and blatant defiance. I am reminded that I am not alone and that we all share one common bond. That is that we have a unique and loving perspective. Kids will lie, they will manipulate, They will defy and they will ultimately test you way beyond we ever thought we could be pushed!

With this enlightenment, I have to then ask myself why do I even try to enforce rules? Is it just kids being kids? And then I look at other parents who seemingly have this innate ability to raise these perfectly compliant children and I wonder is the denominator me? I wonder if my hard approach to my rules not being an option, is actually causing the conflict? I think the answer is yes and no. Children can be horrible for no other reason just don’t know how to process how they feel or how they want to act in any given situation because they’re kids. Taking responsibility is taught. Thankfulness is taught! Accountability is taught. These are the tenants for happy extended and well respected life.

So how do I get them there? I guess I have to decipher when they need control, when they feel control and when they’re trying to get control more then they should have control. That’s easier said than done. Innovative approaches can often come from girlfriends. Asking a child who repeatedly offends, what you can do to help them succeed might actually set us up for future manipulation? I think the answer is in the rules.

If the rules revolve around character, they’re nonnegotiable. If they were revolve around participation in the family, they’re nonnegotiable. If they revolve around how they treat others, that’s nonnegotiable. Finding ways to help them understand their responsibility in those matters is our responsibility.

I guess there it is? What it all boils down to it it’s all about personal responsibility and having the audacity to be tenacious enough to enforce what we think is right. Standing over a child while he or she brushes their teeth because they refused to do it on their own is not going to harm the child. It’s going to teach them that this is the rule in their best interest that is nonnegotiable.

Forcing a child to put down his or her cell phone during dinner time and having the wherewithal to sit and have dinner with them shows them that we are willing to take accountability for our actions as well. That alone will send a powerful message. We may not be the most likable person in our house in that moment, but when our child is grown and fits easily into a world that has no tolerance for anything other than these tenants and they fit in and bonus; are happy, we will be the most likable person.

Just a moment to remember they have friends, is it our job to be their friend while they are growing up, and if we do our job well, we will have a lifelong friend once they are grown.

Human Interest, Inspiration, Reflection, Revelations, The Children

Epically Unfun

Very much like the title says, I have been told I am “epically unfun” by my three teens. When I remind them that the ONLY time I get cross with them is 1. When they do not do what they’re asked, 2. When they lie and tell me they did what was asked, 3. Go out of their way to complain or whine about what they have to do, and finally 4. Throw an attitude and make what’s asked of them torture for those around.  I explain that if they were pleasant with the knowledge that they have been given so much despite what they’ve lost; they should learn at their age that reciprocation is part of the deal.

What surprises me at every turn is how fundamentally wrong I am with the expectations. I expect kids to be decent little happy beings?  My bad!  Kids are great when you’re doting on them, giving them things, telling them how much you love them, but speak of disappointment and they turn into the little devils they are with all the eye rolling of a teenage queen and the lip speak of satan himself.

The thing is that in my head I think, “Well, they will understand if I just explain it to them.” You know what that brings? More opportunity for them to use my words against me, to manipulate an outcome they would rather have, and ultimately I still end up being the bad guy. I wonder, is it this hard for all parents?

Some people will “hate” on the truth that kids are not always the angelic creatures that they show on TV.  Kids are sometimes filled with contempt for their parents.  Kids who have lost parents like mine have conjure even more sympathy than normal.  If you set them in line parents want to tell you, “Well, they’ve lost their parents.” As though you don’t already know.  Rules have to be followed, restrictions and boundaries are part of life and ultimately building character isn’t easy.  Let’s face it we all wish we could have ice cream parties and cake.  At some point the daily list of homework, chores, and simply being respectful is going to come up.

I have to remind myself that I have been here before. I’ve raised two amazing adult children.  Both independent and capable of achieving great success.  They’re fine, despite I always felt like I was flying by the seat of my pants.  These kids will be too. Not because I’m a great drill sergeant, but because I love them.  My boundaries are to tell them they have restrictions they shouldn’t cross in life.  My rules are to teach them independence. My firmness comes from the fact that I know that unless they are successful in being in a harsh world when they’re of age, they won’t be happy.  It’s in love that I commit to teaching them there is a way to accomplish goals, and then there is just being lazy. You cannot do both.

Sadly, I still sit and wonder how I can say something and it be turned into something completely different from it’s intent. I sigh, heavily sometimes. I wonder if anything I do will enhance any part of who they are to become.  I wonder if they love me in some small way or if they even know the harshness of the circumstances we find ourselves in.  What do they really think? How do they feel?

I have to do what I think is best and hope that flying by the seat of my very wildly inappropriate pants won’t cause harm or foul to these precious souls I love with every fiber of my being. I pray that if I can sometimes get myself out of the way, they might actually learn the lessons they need to, and hopefully one day find happiness of their own. That’s what I think about all the time.

Inspiration, Reflection

Making Difficult Changes

Today we put an offer on a home that doesn’t feed into the school system the kids are in. I have mixed feelings. For months since school began this semester both girls pleaded with me to reinvent themselves somewhere where people didn’t know their back story. I have been tortured with this decision.

Their mom, Jen, built a beautiful city of amazing mom’s I truly connected with. I wish we could have become closer friends but that never happened. Partly because I was absent a lot or flying by the seat of my pants when I was here. Partly because everyone has an opinion of the choices I make and sadly they don’t think I’m making the right ones.

It’s hard to be under such a microscope. One is gifted, two have very special needs. Add local family drama and a whole slew of brand new modifications to their little worlds and you have one exhausted guardian.

I wish I could reassure those who say bring them to God, he’ll fix it. I’ve taught them the story of Jesus and will continue. To the ladies who forever wonder about their academic success, I’m paying attention. They’ve got A’s and B’s. To the people who question their state of mind, they see professionals. To the ones who fret about their loss; please know they’re so very loved. They want for nothing.

Sami rides horses. She and I do yoga. Laura plays piano and dances in addition to preparing for cross country. Brandon has 4 activities outside of school and many inside. Each child has 100% of my attention and focus on making them productive and happy adults.

I wish I could be the woman that others feel free to just be themselves around. I wish I could have kept what Jen created going. I’m not, and I know that my focus should be on building the village. I’m just so focused on keeping my family close, inclusion, tolerance, kindness and all the motivators and numerous activities that teach that.

When you hear about me moving them, before you judge me for my choices, put yourself in my shoes. There’s no way you could possibly know the daily struggles without knowing me. What you read on FB, or Twitter or see in a snap is a moment in the window of our complicated lives. We’re all just trying to get through the day.

If you’d like to remain friends ladies, please reach out. My life is overwhelmed with duty and I could really use some gal pals right about now! I’m always listening.

Inspiration

The First Birthday … After…

Today is my darling daughter’s 11th birthday.  I say “daughter” because she’s part of my new family, my new reality and she’s grown herself into the depths of my heart.  She’s not biological but nonetheless, she’s the breath of fresh air every single day. I am so honored her parents agreed to allow me to raise her after their passing.

Today I get to have lunch at the school with her. I get to bring her a cupcake and a little bag of treats. I get to see her smile, and hear her laugh. I get to see the happiness that will bring on her face, and part of me feels guilt because it’s not her momma.  Not her real one anyway. I cannot help but think Jennifer, her mom, is up in heaven wishing beyond all that is natural that today it could be her in front of her daughter.

Often, I bow my head and I cry. Not for me.  For the loss the two of them must feel.  I only hope that the gifts I buy, the cakes I serve, or the numerous silly kisses will wash away the pain of understanding that this is the very first birthday without either of her parents.  Will she think of them? I hope so. Will she be sad? I pray only moments.

Today I feel blessed. Completely and utterly focused on raising her and her two siblings the best I can. It can be so overwhelming. The challenges of raising three traumatized kids, but my husband and I wouldn’t turn away from our responsibility no matter what. We love them just as though they’ve been with us since birth.  That won’t ever change.

The Children

Why did God choose me?

Three years ago she asked, “Will you love them like they’re your own?” And I answered, “Of course!”  Did I understand the consequences of my agreement at the time? Probably not!  I believe I just wanted then what I want now, and that is to be part of the proverbial “village” that is needed to raise the kids?

Three years of not being able to hug a parent, or play ball, or talk to them, or shop, or eat dinners, or believe that the security they provide is actually going to last?  These kids came to me broken.  They’re all riddled with the absence of constant attention. Their grades plummeted.  Their behaviors were horrible.  It wasn’t because their mom and dad didn’t love them.  In fact, what really matter is that the base of a good kid is in each one due to the fact that their parent’s adored them!  They’re all just sucking the life out of everything they can, because they each believe that people come into our lives, and then they leave.

In the process of becoming the authority, the responsible adult, the security blanket, poor Aunt Rebecca became the disciplinarian. Yes, and in doing that, I lost my fun Aunt Rebecca title and became, “mean Aunt Rebecca!” I have to tell you that the beginning was not as much fun as I thought it was going to be. In the end, though, this journey is proving to be an incredibly honorable experience. I’m not only learning about them, but the second turn of raising a set of kids is forcing me to learn more of myself.

There’s so much to do.  There’s so much to say.  There’s so many things that I want to teach them.  Much to prepare them for.  I’m up to the challenge. I am.  Sometimes, I fade into the despair of what it must be like to lose both your parents at once.  Sometimes I weep because they didn’t know how absolutely incredibly loved their parents were.

Here’s what I do know. I try every single day to be a better person. To be kind and put the frustrations of my inadequacies behind me.  I don’t show weakness to the children. I show them consistency. I know I am not supposed to be their friend, I am the person who puts them before myself, or anyone or anything. That’s my job.  I don’t take it lightly.  It is my belief that I am profoundly and irrevocably committed to their overall happiness and well being.

I’m no longer complain. I try to do things a little different and let go of my own expectations.  I’m not going to try and reason or understand because it does me no good. I’m not going to spend this year lost in the muck of pain and anger of what has been lost, or what will come when the ultimate loss is paid.  All I can do is push through to the good, the joy of what I see in the community around me. Take stock in the kindness of others and not ask what the angle is. To revel in the fact that I have the skills necessary to do this job and thank the good Lord he saw fit to prepare me for this journey.

I pray every day that I do a job that deserves praise.  I love them. Unconditionally. I may never know why God chose me, but what I do know, is that I thank God every day that he did.  Amen.

Inspiration

Random Act of Kindness

Have you ever sat down in tears, and thought, “I feel so blessed!”  Well, today that was me.  For a moment there were no words. No strife, no anger, no pain, no concern, and no worry.  There was only immense gratefulness.  A moment of humility unlike any other I’ve ever felt. I have always been a hopeful person, but I have never maintained a level of faith in another human being. From time to time they disappoint me. Some leave me devastated in their selfish wake. Today, when kindness brought me to the point of tears, I sat down and let them fall. All I felt was the love from the people who show me kindness.

It was then that I replayed the past year over in my head. A few incredible women popped out and as my tears fell, my heart warmed.  If I have ever lost faith in kindness, that would be all but proven lately that more people are kind than they are not.  For this girl, who has lived through the worst things imaginable; believing in the kindness of others has been my challenge.  I’ve remained transparent even in the wake of pain that followed; all with the belief that is what God has called me to do.  Believing in my own faith that if I did the right thing time and time again, despite that the outcome has not always matched in justice; things would work out in the end. Not that my choices have anything to do with other’s kindness, or that any of this is my doing; it’s just that it lend credibility to the astounding sense of overwhelming love I felt and why.

A woman named Kim Whiting organized several families to help us with Christmas this year.  Well, with grandma’s and aunts, and uncles, and extended family here in Dallas; I just didn’t know how I was going to be able to do Christmas.  The three new kids’ and both of mine in NOLA in college, meant for a difficult budget.  Jennifer, the mom of the three kids sick, and money running out due to in home 24/7 care so she doesn’t have to be at a senior facility and you have one stressed out Rebecca.  Kim came to the rescue and sent a lovely family to us bearing a ton of Christmas gifts for the kids.  They’re a lifesaver!  Sent from God above!  Thank you Kim for reaching out to your network to help us! You have a huge loving heart.

That’s when it reminded me of a wonderful woman named Lynn Ellis who organized food deliveries when I was so overwhelmed with new after school activities and couldn’t afford the dinners or time to cook my own.  It takes everything I have to put my pride aside and accept help. I usually the one who gives it. I was so humbled by Lynn’s generosity though and found her willingness to support Jennifer’s family and my efforts inspiring. She listed the family on a website that organized a community of wonderful moms who brought amazing dinners.  I cannot express in enough words how incredibly helpful she’s been to my family and how profoundly proud I am to know her.  Thank you Lynn for giving us such a precious gift of life; food. Your grace inspires me.

Kim Whitehead heard that we were in desperate need of school clothes and rallied together all the grade and middle school parents who donated an entire wardrobe for all three kids.  She’s a precious inspiration who continues to awe and shock me with how much she is able to accomplish. C.E.O.’s should take notice!  Her heart of gold helped me at a time when again I was overwhelmed with medical costs and strategic planning of my own.  I cannot thank you enough for adding me to your already extensive to do list, just to bless this family with your kindness. You are truly inspirational.

Shannon Quick and Gina McCoy who are amazing women, helped Jennifer clean and organize her home this past year. They packed, and served whenever called.  They love her with unconditional non judgement truthfulness and for that I am profoundly grateful. I love you ladies, and I treasure your help.

The Moms of Plano and the Moms of Murphy who continue to support Jen. Special Delivery where Dwight used to work who provide the insurance so she can continue treatment, The Karate Place where Dwight used to take the kids who continue to raise money each year. Those funds go directly to her medical and daily living expenses. Every dollar has been used to keep this family together.  We’re so thankful that you rallied around this family. Thank you for being so incredible selfless and kind.

To my girlfriends Gail Marks, Dawn Smith, Mary Jarcy, Leanna Cannon, Debbie Smith, my daughter Elizabeth and the girls from social media who are too many to list who support me through Facebook; I get so much from you. You listen to me rant and keep the grace I know you have.  Thank you for being there for me.

I wish I could thank each one of the GOFUNDME people who support Jen and her family this past year. We could NOT have done any of this had it not been for you. I wish I could thank the individuals to brought dinners, or gave gift cards or cash or helped or supported, or drove, or listened when it was all too overwhelming for me.  How can I possibly tell you that if it weren’t for you this past year, I don’t know what I would have done? Thank you everyone for the smaller donation to the biggest. Your kindness continues to raise this family up.

Now you know why it all just hit me and I couldn’t stand.  I felt God today. I feel him more lately than I have ever felt him.  I feel so humbled, so thankful, so incredibly inspired to be the best human being I can be because of these amazing women. I want to say that I am truly thankful for you. I am honored that you wanted to help, and I treasure you more than rubies and gold.  You are everything this world needs. I wish everyone knew how incredibly wonderful each and every one of you are; from the woman who brought me food, to the girl who cleaned the house, to the leaders who rallied a community to support us. You are everything a woman should be, and all that I hope one day a woman says about me.  Thank you, from the bottom of my warmest humbled heart for your selfless acts of kindness. I truly mean it when I say that I pray generously that God blesses you in the very same kind manner that you have blessed this family.  Thank you for being the light of God and shining that light where there was darkness and now there is hope and faith.  Merry Christmas!

Inspiration

Empowering Women to Love

Often I am reminded of even my own sinned thoughts and actions. The other day a woman with an ill-behaved child was near me and I found myself rolling my eyes thankful that I raised my kids where a firmer understanding created that necessary fear that made my kids behave. Then I thought about it. I am what I tell other women not to be … A judger. Not only that but a … condemner.

I feel that women should take the world “Judgement” out of their vocabulary! Frankly it’s for men to do not us. We have a right to formulate an opinion about something and then it is our DUTY to encourage each other to change our perspective to “LOVE” rather than hate and HELP the woman out. Judgement = Opinion… so let’s use the right word.

Condemning is when you elevate your worth over someone else. That’s what I did. Yep, that was me. It’s not okay. I should have walked over to the overstressed and frazzled mom and offered help. This is my area of expertise. Merely by acting I could be teaching the woman who obviously doesn’t possess those talents. Maybe she’s an awesome lawyer, or housekeeper, or she loves everyone unconditionally? I will never know because I never offered to help. Not once, didn’t even think about it.

I wonder, how many times does Jesus ask us to love our fellow man? How many people has he put in front of us and wanted us to make them feel connected, wanted, appreciated, cared for? How many times have WE DENIED HIM because of our own hatred, condemnation, selfishness, need for elevation…?? Pretty scary when you think about it that way isn’t it?

Today I encourage you to pause. STOP for a brief minute and actually listen to someone who might need you to lift them up! If we can encourage one woman, to encourage another woman, and lift each other up, then we can create love that will affect every home in America. It starts with you today. What will YOU choose? Love? Doing what Jesus asks or going your own way? It’s always up to you. God Bless!

Inspiration, Opinion

A mother’s plea-leave mine alone!

There’s no kind of heartache that can match what happens when you see your child or someone you love about to hit head on into something that is going to end badly. Whether it’s drugs, or friends, or choices or mates; it hurts to watch them grow through some pretty painful human things that young people go through.

You want so badly to shout, “STOP” but they won’t. You want to define the hurt, to identify it for them and give them a path to either get through it, or avoid it altogether. That doesn’t work. The only thing you’re left with is an undeniable sense of powerlessness.

There’s no advice, no words, no wisdom, no mercy that will be accepted or even considered. They will undeniably come to education or experience all on their own without your incredibly unwanted help.

For all those people who would come into my life, I want to scream at you, “Knock it off!” Stop the drama, the conflict, the chaos, the manipulation, the games, the toil and the turmoil and just leave me and mine without you. Just go away. Just take whatever that makes you feel good when you do evil things and move on down the road. Just be done with us.

Some say that people (even I do) are both good and evil. That people are basically great and they do bad things, but what about those people who wake and think negative. They always have an angle, they’re always looking for someone to control, to overpower, to use, to manipulate for their bidding? What bout those broken people? Are they the ones you need to throw out of your life?

I have learned in my long life that people do change. They are capable and that I myself have been what I call a manipulating person. I certainly don’t even think I could do that today if I wanted to but I can recall a far away youth that presented those opportunities that sadly I took advantage of. I hear my hypocrisy on the issue, but to my credit; although admitted, decided one day to take a change… and switch. Deny what was and move into a more thankful being. Because I got the help I needed. I truly believe when they do too, the end result will be either loving and generosity or unforgiveness and bitterness. It will be there choice.

The thing with time is it takes time for this butterfly effect to happen. In the meantime, my children will be in harms way and potentially broken. As the doctor’s say, you cannot fix broken people by loving them more. They have to want to be fixed. They have to want that They have to want that. Yes, I am repeating myself. The people I’ve met don’t even think they have a problem. I find that so heartbreaking…

Inspiration

It is Tough to be in Pain

Sometimes I forget that life can truly be painful when it’s not so much for me. Pain is a relevant thing in my life… that being said, it isn’t a constant but I have had tremendous burden of it throughout my whole life. So, for someone such as me to admit that I am one of those ‘take a pill and get over it’ individuals it is not because I haven’t walked a mile in your shoes, it is because I am not currently walking in them. Speaking to you about your woes pulls me back into my own and like a crab trying to get out of the water while other’s pull them down, I run the opposite direction. Shame on me.

There is a moment when we realize maybe someone could feel less wounded if we took a minute not only to share our burden but to life someone else’s above our own. The loss of a child, a man, a job, may seem merely an obstacle for some while for other’s it may be their biggest burden. The measure of main is indescribably difficult from person to person and it shouldn’t be up to those of use who have endured to sit in judgement of what that actual affliction should be.

It is with powerful reverence that I can even utter this retrospective conclusion given that my admission to the offense is certainly evident, however, I will pause to give a forlorn gaze upon you as I whisper, “You are not alone. I am ready to hear.”

There are moments when people want to know that their worries are held in high regard. The one denominating characteristic is that they want to be valued. How dare I not give credence to that basic acceptance we all feel?

I do value yours as you have mine. I do see you for what you in see me. I hate the things in you that I hate about the things I see in me. I am you, further, distant, different having past through the torment you currently suffer. I am hope, and light, and forgiveness and you in the infinite wisdom of time healing all wounds will be resolute in the completeness of knowing that you too will one day erect from whatever feeds your life a living hell right now, much more victorious than I should have ever or ever will be. For you have the benefit of acknowledgement and affirmation and that my friend is the first step to the momentous climbing out of the depths of despair you find yourself in.

You are worthy, admirable, and possess great strength and courage. All things are possible through these actions. I do have faith in you. You should too.

To learn more about me, check out http://www.RebeccaNietert.com or catch me on one of my social sites through twitter: @RebeccaANietert or Facebook: BexNietert

Inspiration

Father’s Day

I wanted to blog about Father’s Day, but I’m missing one fundamental element for real comprehension of what Father’s Day means to the general dad. And that is that I never really had a dad who spend any time with me, or sent me cards, or called me on my birthday, or pretty much participated in an any part whatsoever of my life. So what I decided to blog about for Father’s Day is from the perspective of a wife and a daughter.

First I must tell you that my mother was strong enough to be both a mother and the father for me, so I never really felt like I missed out on having a father on until I got married and began to raise a daughter of my own. For my daughter when she was young I was the parent who meant everything to her. But as she grew older into her teen years I began to understand what a valuable role of father plays in the choices his teenage daughter makes. He can neither be too aggressive in his need to control her innocence, nor can he be too bold in his approach with her freedom. It’s a fine respectful line that a father has to walk on, but if he’s mature enough to handle it he can have the relationship of his dreams with his new young adult daughter.

It has been my experience that when a woman reaches her teenage years and into young adulthood; this is when the dad doesn’t feel like he’s needed anymore. You couldn’t be further from the truth! This is the age where a woman formulates the type of man she’s going to date, whether or not she’s going to try to replace her father with an older gentleman that she dates, and whether or not she’s going to allow a man or boyfriend to treat her badly. Because a mature father can teach her the appropriate kind of love that only allows her to except a man who will treat her right!

The more I look at the men my daughter has in her life, the more I understand this rule to be the truth. I watch in awe because this is a very natural change for a father and daughter to go through it.

I also have a son. The dynamics of raising a son for a mother can be excruciatingly painful. A boy needs a mother. But a man needs a father. And about the age of 12 boys decide that moms are embarrassing, and awkward. Our little boys are growing and we realize the natural progression is to navigate towards the male social dynamics of becoming an adult. Again, if a mature father is firm and able to be patient enough to put in the quantity; the quality will come!

It may seem like I’m standing on a soapbox preaching about the benefits of maturity with regard to how a father appears to his children, but I’m not. I’m merely pointing out what I have seen that has happened in my experience over the years of my life. In moments when I sit and reflect on the awesome parenting that I see from the fathers I know as an adult; that’s when I really realize how much I miss out on by not having a father of my own.

So for all you dads out there who don’t feel as though you make an impact, or don’t feel appreciated, this dedication is for you! Because you’re the silent teacher, you’re the security, you’re the love and the adoration that both your female and your male kids need! You may not know it now, but their choices and their mistakes are all relevant to this very important day that’s all about you… Happy Father’s Day to you sincerely from the heart of a wife, a mother, and a child! You are loved! Thank you!