I am sorry to hear that you carry so much sadness from your childhood. It surely is normal for children to get used to the way their mama cares for them. I've made a career of taking care of other people's children so I can assure you it is normal and I find myself cutting off the crusts off sandwiches and buckling baby dolls into strollers for walks because "that's what mommy does" and a comforting routine is good for children. For everyone, really. I like it myself. I hope that I am sensitive to your needs while you are here and I try really hard to foster that bond between you and the kids. I certainly never wish to stand in the way as I had a very special bond with my own grandmother. At the same time, we do have our family ways that are unique to us that are part of who we are. The incident at the end, where Kai was scolded and upset, that was hurtful to all of us. I have always taught the children that they have a right to be alone and they have a right to say stop...even to grown ups. Even to me. I really felt I needed to stick up for Kai in that situation when he asked to be alone. And you feeling like you needed to get out of the house after that, was a perfect example of how we all need to be alone sometimes, to sort out our feelings. I try to give them the respect I'd give a dear friend, especially since they are even more dear than my closest friend!
I think that the general disorder of our house is hard for you and I'm sorry for that. I do wish for my children to be respectful and kind but I equally wish for them to unafraid to speak their mind, to question authority, to say what they want, to get dirty, to BE children. I do not wish for them to be quiet, or blindly obedient, or go against who they are and what they feel. I think a lot of the sadness and confusion that we carry around as adults has to do with being told as children that who we are is wrong. Sit down. Be quiet. Don't touch it. Don't argue. How awful that feels to be told that what comes naturally to you is wrong? I remember that feeling in school. Rarely were we encouraged to think for ourselves and be wild and learn by diving in feet first, be freethinkers. That is what I want for them. Question everything. Even mama. Never be afraid to speak your mind, especially around those who love you. And I expect great things from them. They depend on me now as they should, and when they grow old enough to be without me, they will be stronger for the fact that I didn't push it too early. I have doubted many things in my life and choices I have made but I don't doubt the way we are raising them. It's the only think I know for sure that I'm doing right. Not that my way is the only right way, but that it is right for us. We are all thriving.
But the short of it, really, is that you don't have to carry the responsibility of their discipline, emotional development, ethics, and eventual autonomy. That's for Mark and me. You just get to spoil them, give them chocolate and watch too many movies, tickle their backs and read them stories. Which you did, and they loved.
Here's to our next visit, beachside