Week #5: Cheering You On

Like most people, our family has spent more time at home than usual for these past 10 1/2 months. Since our kids are all in middle school (grades 5-8), they don’t require constant supervision as they did when they were younger. They’d much rather spend their hours online with their friends then hanging out with us.

Sometimes our interactions seem to be a constant stream of reminders or reproaches: “Brush your teeth,” “Clean your room,” “Why do you have two plates, three bowls and five cups in your bedroom?” “Why is there a noodle on your carpet?” “Pick up your underwear from the bathroom floor.” “Eat over a plate.” Have you finished your homework?” “Empty your lunchbox.” “Close the front door.” “Put the basketball away, don’t leave it on the floor.” “It’s time for bed.” It goes on and on until I’m annoyed at hearing my own voice and annoyed at being annoyed.

At some point I decided I wasn’t happy with this arrangement and although I still often provide these reminders, I’ve been consciously also adding more positivity to our interactions. I want them to know that their parents are here for them and when they encounter difficult times as they get older, that we’re here for them.

Part of our job as parents is to teach them how to survive and thrive as adults, to help them appreciate their self-worth, find their passion and make a positive contribution to the world. (Something that you don’t think about as much when the early daily parenting rituals are more focused on sleep schedules, diaper changes and introducing new foods.) But these middle school years – and the teen years to come – are crucial as they develop into independent adults. I remember my own teen years, forming my own opinions about life and not really caring about my parents’ opinions on the matter (that caring came as I matured and now I wish I could have conversations with my mom that I never thought to have 20-some years ago when she was alive).

I want to be able to strike a balance between teaching them what they need to know to lead a happy, productive life and also being a source of encouragement.

I got your back, I got your forward
I’m here for any goal you’re moving toward
I’ve seen you grow, want you to know
I’m here rooting for you

I want them to know that when they are having difficult times as adults, that we’re here for them and want what’s best for them.

On those nights when you’re drowning in doubt
Losing sleep tryin’ to figure it out
Let me be clear, I’m here cheering you on
Now and beyond, I’ll be cheering you on

When you head out to find your way
I wish you peace and love and strength
When days turn dark, when you lose your spark
I’m here, holding a flame

I know the feeling isn’t mutual and I don’t expect it to be.

It’s unconditional, unconditional
Nonreciprocal but that’s OK
You’ll understand someday.

A parent’s love is eternal.

On those nights when you’re drowning in doubt
Losing sleep tryin’ to figure it out
Let me be clear, I’m here cheering you on
Even when I’m gone, I’ll be cheering you on.

A virtual songwriting gathering

This past weekend was the Arizona Songwriters Association Mini-Fest, a virtual event held in lieu of the Arizona Songwriters Gathering, the group’s largest event each year where people gather at the Glendale Public Library for a day of learning and music. Obviously we weren’t able to get together in person this year because of this stupid pandemic, but the group put together a great day of Zoom classes and about six hours of live music from Arizona songwriters.

My two songs were “Cheering You On” and “Our Home.” Here’s the video of my recorded performance. I cringe a little when I hear my songs because my guitar doesn’t sound very good, but I was just so happy to have remembered all the lines and sang it pretty much in key. (My husband took the boys out of the house for a couple hours so it would be quiet enough to record it so I had use the best take from the MANY attempts…) I feel very honored to be in the same video as these amazing performers, which include a popular local producer and a songwriter who now lives in Nashville.

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