October 24, 2009

making your own decision


I watched with anticipation, day after day, as I drove to and from work. Coming soon the sign declared. Props, pallets and finally pumpkins were added to the display as the days in October inched forward. And finally... it was ready. Row after row of Fall had made its way to Florida.

When there was finally a day my calendar did not send me in three directions, the four of us zipped on down to the pumpkin patch in search of Halloween treasure... the pumpkin that would do the Jack-o-lantern honors this year. Walking through the rows of perfect pumpkins, I realized that coming early, before all of the pumpkins begin to rot, has its benefits... and then, upon gazing up at my children, who are not lightening fast decision makers, it occurred to me that once the selection is narrowed down, there are still quite a few advantages!

And so Camden came to me with his pick... and what did I do? I questioned him. I wanted him to look at his choice, and make sure that he would have enough room on the front of the pumpkin to create just the face he wanted. And after just a breath of uncertainty from me, he returned his jack-to-be to it's resting place. And the guilt seeped in. I tried to take back my thought... but it was to late. And this boy, who is so much like his mother, not wanting to ever disappoint, was on the search again. Eric sent an almost-glare my way, and to be fair, I deserved it. Trying desperately to make amends, I went back to Cam and tried to explain my thinking... but most of all tell him that his first choice could be his final choice... and I was sorry for planting that seed of doubt. I eventually convinced him that I was sincere and after another trip or two up and down the rows, he made his way back to the One.

During this whole exchange, Laura was traipsing up row and down, and was totally on her own making her pick. Surprisingly, she found one in record time and then had more time just to wander and enjoy. And I was thankful that I had not ruined the adventure for both of my kids...

Even now... with our pumpkins adding a splash of orange to our front step... I am thinking about what I said... what I did to Camden. And I make a heartfelt plea to my own self... to let go. But along with my own lesson learned comes gratitude. For his will... beginning to stretch and grow and try out uncharted territory. He was able to (finally) push my two cents out of his head and go with his gut. At twelve. And for that, I am thankful. Because for me... it took a lot more than double the years for me to step out boldly from my own Mother's advice and urgings. Her advice was always sincere... and I never felt pushed... I just always wanted to please. And I so I suppose that I was being pushed... but by my own heart. Looking back, I realize that starting this blog was the first time that I have actually listened to my mother's advice and outright rejected it. Her cautions were from her heart... but my own heart had already committed itself. In stepping out on my own decision, and having her come back and thank me (over and over!) for pushing her advice aside, I have learned a valuable lesson. And while I may falter, time and again, I am learning to pass it on. My mistakes may come in a pumpkin patch or over a cooking lesson... but I hope when it is really important that I can step back and let my own kids tumble forth, confident in what they think without worrying that their choice will disappoint me...

6 comments:

Jo@Mylestones said...

First, hurray for pumpkins and fall finally arriving in Florida! (Your trees from MA wave an orange and yellow hello, and say that they miss you.) :-)
I relate to both the desire to please (just like Cam & like you as a daughter) and the learning to just "let go" and not offer the opinion (or try to have it my way). Good for Cameron for owning a decision at the tender age of 12, and good for you for encouraging him toward that!

Kelli said...

Fall in Florida!!! Yeah! I seem to "plant seeds of doubt" in my the hearts of my children and you have inspired me to let go and let them make a few decisions!!!

Busy Bee Suz said...

Oh, you are tugging on my heart today. I can relate to this entire scenario. I am trying very hard to let them make their own decisions too..for me it is because I had no one helping me and I want more for them. But I see now, it does not matter WHY I want to step in and help...I need to let the kids do it.
I can totally see Eric's glare too...I gave it to Jeff just yesterday. :9
This is beautifully written my friend. I hope you enjoy those pumpkins for a long time...until they rot and stink up your front porch. Then you can bring them to my compost.

A Little Of This And That said...

I purchased my first pumpkins of the season today... just two... for my small autumn garden out front. They add such a spark.

K said...

We went to the pumpkin patch yesterday. It was great.

I love that my son is finally old enough to kind of understand what's going on and be really excited about the holidays.

Life with Kaishon said...

Oh, this was such a good post. WOW! I do the same thing ALL the time! I remember in college, I used to do it excessively! You know, like 'help' people only because I really wanted to 'help' them by making them do things my way. My friend Gretchen totally helped me work thru that stage!