Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

Nag = code word for TEACH

As a teenager, I distinctly remember thinking to myself, "I will never nag my kids the way my parents do!"  I held this ridiculous belief for most of my life, having had my first child when I was 30 years old.  At the time, 30 was the new 20 … so I was still considered a pretty young and hip (I might add) mother throughout most of my parenting experience.  Even as I approached my 40th birthday, I held the little crumb crushers captive in my power, as they listened to the sound of my voice and obeyed my every command with a smile on their wee glowing faces.  Somewhere around my 45th birthday, however, my superpowers as a parent went on the fritz and practically overnight I was left in the company of a moody teenage girl and her cheerful pre-teen brother.  This summer, that same little brother turns 13 and I am now living in a cave with creatures who no longer communicate with anything but grunts, loud exhalations and eye-rolling.  It hasn't happened yet, but I'm waiting for the bones of their discarded Friday night chicken dinner to come flying across the room in response to one of my ill-timed questions shortly.  It's only a matter of time, I'm sure, they are regressing so rapidly.

It isn't as though my parenting style has somehow been altered since I started this venture, as well-documented journals next to my nightstand can prove.  Nor have the household rules changed in regard to eating, dating, curfew or generally frowned upon Hooliganism.  I still hold the same good intentions of teaching my children as much as I can before they're unleashed on the world.  Yet, my kids both wrinkle up their noses and roll their eyes as though I've dug up some new and unsavory parental crap out of the cat's litter box to present to them each and every time I speak.  They call me a nag.  No, that was the last generation's model … not me!

Mark Twain once wrote (and I will liberally paraphrase here) that as young man he thought his father was one of the most brilliant men he'd ever met, but when he became a teen the old man had somehow lost some of his intelligence and by the time he was 20 his poor old father was a frothing at the mouth moron.  Yet, somehow as the young man hit his 25th birthday his father seemed to regain some of his intelligence and by the time he was an adult (and probably father to his own children by then) the old fellow was once again the most brilliant man he'd ever met. 

Our opinions of our caregivers change as we age and our experiences often show us the reasoning behind some of what was said to us in our youth.  I no longer look back on all that nagging the way I once did.  In fact, after a recent marathon session of me wagging my finger at my daughter about something I glanced over at a mirror and saw my mother.  It wasn't really my mother, but her ghost-of-my-teenage past raising one eyebrow at me as if to ask, "Not so much nagging now as it is teaching, is it?"  I hate to admit it, but the old nag is right.

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