My perspective

Julia flew back to AZ last Thursday to spend two weeks with her family before returning for the next quarter.  The time she has been here has gone really fast already and she has slipped nicely right into our family.  The kids feel like they have a big sister...a cool big sister, and I don't feel like she is my younger cousin, rather a combination of niece-daughter-friend.  I don't think that I necessarily treat her as if she is my would probably take a little more time to do that, but in all reality, she doesn't treat me like I'm her mother either.  What I mean by that is that we (I) have more patience with someone who isn't my own child and I think the same goes in the other direction too.  I have more patience or tend to be less short with people other than my parents.  I've visited this line of action before, and I know I'm not alone in my behavior. 

Why do we do this?  It's a cycle that isn't easily broken.  Of course I love my children, my husband, my parents immeasureably, but if my kids would just listen, I wouldn't get mad...I would probably have more time to focus on them if they weren't creating these big tasks for me around every turn.  Julia offers to help, picks up after herself, listens and responds if I talk to her...she is more independent.  Hmm.  She is nearing 19.  Hmm.  I don't suppose I should expect my 5 year old (or my 11 year old) to behave as if they were 19...probably not even 15!  I think we're doing a pretty good job of creating a foundation.  After all, I think I turned out OK and based on the conversation my mom and I had not too long ago about the possible things that go on in Jakob's mind and the challenges of this very bright, sometimes mature, good natured, ornry, practical joking stinker or a child, she let me know that I was always causing her grief because of my bad attitude.  Never allowing myself to obtain the desired privleges because I was always getting them taken away or delaying them for an eternity.  (Later curfew comes to mind often here).  I don't remember this as such a constant thing, but based on the buttons that I have that get pushed, I can easily assume it to be true.

Benjamin asked why Julia was leaving.  "Is it because there are too many of us?"  "No" I reassured him.  "It is because she misses her mommy and daddy and sister and brother, so she's going to go spend time with them."   "But she has us."  "She'll only be gone for a couple of weeks", I finished. 

It was a reminder to me of how fast this time will go while my children are small...before they're just coming home to visit.