Flintstone Vitamins’ cuteness, novelty, and nostalgia aside….
(Go ahead, try not to sing along with…..
“Flintstones. Meet the Flintstones.
They’re the modern stone age family.
From the town of Bedrock,
They’re a page right out of history.
When you’re with the Flintstones
Have a yabba dabba doo time.
A dabba doo time.
We’ll have a gay old time.”)
True confession: When my two oldest kids were little, I read aloud to them three to five hours every day. (Well, some of it was devotions and bedtime stories with their daddy too.) My husband worked twelve to thirteen hour days, and I had several small children. So I read. And read. And read.
Through the years, our reading time went down to two to four hours a day. And we all look back fondly on those days—even my thirty-four and thirty year olds still talk about all of that read aloud time. And how wonderful it was to have that much time to read and learn together.
When you need to get things done might seem like a strange time to recommend as a talk time, but hear me out on this one.
Not long ago, my twenty-one year old son stopped by as I was cleaning vegetables. He said, “Oh, you’re cleaning veggies. Remember when we used to bring a big tub of fruits and vegetables into the living room and we three boys would gather around them and peel, slice, dice, stem, and “julienne” pounds of produce while you read out loud to us for hours.”
“I’ll never forget,” I replied, getting a little misty-eyed.
“I just don’t feel like I can tell you anything.”
“You judge everything I say.”
“I know you won’t want to listen to this.”
These are all phrases that our preteens, teens, and young adults might say to us—IF we do not open our hearts to them early and often, creating a safe place for them to talk to us.
A pivotal, crucial time to talk to our kids is when they need a safe place to talk.
Every fall I want to share this….and every fall I make my way through the poem again, look at pictures, cry, and put it all away until next fall. Then I repeat the cycle.
Until this fall. Seventeen years ago today we lost our last child, a little girl we named Carly Grace at twenty-one weeks gestation during an intrauterine blood transfusion. The details are in the free verse poem that I wrote seventeen years ago this winter.
I don’t have answers for mamas who are grieving such devastating losses. But I do know this…writing this poem, reading it over and over through the years, talking about Carly with family and friends (especially our children), and thinking about her really have helped me.
So if you are suffering a current loss or a loss from long ago, don’t be afraid to share it. Don’t be afraid to talk. Don’t be afraid to tell that it hurts like mad. Because it does.
In my 52 Times to Talk, I have recently been discussing the Recipe for Rebellion—and how you can talk to your kids to avoid those “ingredients” that lead to our children rebelling.
Rules Without Relationship is the final ingredient—and probably the most critical of all of the ingredients to avoid. (Of course, without relationship, we as parents have no desire or motivation to try to explain rules, listen to their appeals, or remain consistent in our parenting.) Relationship must be in place in order to keep our children from rebelling against us.