Walking a mile in their shoes

I think I need to thank my parents. Itís not that they have done anything unusual or unexpected recently, but that old adage about walking a mile in someone elseís shoes is suddenly ringing true for me.

Until this month, I had no idea what raising children was like. I have a two-year-old son, and since he was born he has been the light of my life, but this month, I got to experience an entirely new side of parenting Ė raising teenagers.

This year, my husband and I invited our nearly-teenage niece to come and live with us. I knew that this task wouldnít come easy, but since, as I keep telling myself, it hasnít been that long since I was also a teenage girl, I assumed I would have a little insight and be prepared to handle the task at hand.

I can honestly say that I am thrilled with the way things have gone so far. Our niece is adjusting to her new environment, and although it isnít always easy, Iím confident that things are calming down and weíre settling into a routine. That said, Iím also convinced that I never ever thanked my parents enough for everything they did for my sisters and me.

In the past month, Iíve taken on countless new roles. Now, in addition to being a wife, a mother, and a reporter, I get to be a professional shoe locator, a taxi cab, a delivery driver, a tutor, a chef, a disciplinarian, a dry cleaner and about 100 other titles that I donít have time to mention. Mostly because Iím busy running to soccer games, picking up forgotten items and trying my hardest to remember middle school math and science concepts. My newfound duties arenít anything exceptional. As a matter of fact, everyone who has ever raised a child to adulthood has probably done all of these things and more.

In all the years I lived with my parents, I rarely heard them complain about performing the countless tasks that I am now realizing go along with parenting. Iím sure they could have. With five daughters in a 10-year span, my mother probably spent more time driving to and from school during a week than my sisters and I actually spent in the building. We were involved in countless activities and sports teams and extracurricular activities and there were only a few instances when one of us was forgotten at the school or missed an event. The simple fact that all five of us survived to reach adulthood is a pretty good indicator that my parents did their jobs, and they rarely complained during the process.

I can only hope that my new venture into the parenting process yields the same successful results.

So for all of the countless trips to school for forgotten home work, and for all of the times they found my lost shoes, books and homework assignments and for a million other tasks that I expected them to do for me, I offer my parents a huge thank you. †

As for me, it looks like Iím just going to have to wait and hope that in time, I can become the same sort of multi-tasking super parent that I took for granted in my younger years.

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