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On Being a Parent: Choices, Choices

By Antje Hill

My son Jason has care of his daughter, Ashley — my granddaughter — on a part-time basis. If you’ve heard the words “things work together for good” and agree with that idea, you and Jason would have something in common.

The part-time Dad role has made him more conscious of every day he has with his daughter. With spring in full swing now, A Mississippi homecoming for my son and granddaughter — who live out of state — is on the agenda. It’ll include Easter egg hunts, even if they are slightly late, according to the calendar.

I am so glad both my sons have become acutely aware that “family” trumps all else in life’s blessings. Jason is learning you can’t wait to enjoy the kids; before you know it, they are on their way out the door!

So what exciting “family” plans do you have over the summer? Disney World, or other out-of-state places? Though that is fun, in my experience, everyday happenings stick in a child’s memory bank just as well. The best part is that parents or grandparents can make daily life exciting for young ones. Kids are smart. They don’t plan life months in advance; they just enjoy the day.

I’m an advocate for outdoor living, especially now that kids are so well entertained indoors. They need help in appreciating the world around them. Picnics help! Even if it’s peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, or an oversized bag from McDonald’s, different is the key word. It’s a place to connect if cell phones are temporarily abandoned.

If you live in downtown Clarksdale, or Greenwood, or the downtown area of some other Delta city, sidewalk chalk can take up an afternoon and show your child’s hand at creativity. No sidewalks? No problem. The picnic table can replace an easel for drawing what they see. You might be amazed by what they come up with.

It’s not too late to plant a flower, or even a watermelon vine. Give the kids the responsibility of taking care of plants and watch them enjoy the fruits of their labor in a few months. That’s a confidence builder.

Have you checked the web for bubble blower machines? There are all kinds, and they can produce tons of giggles and fun in the evening in the backyard. Believe me, simplicity needs revival. That’s when “togetherness” shows up. It’s those ties that bind.

Someone once said, “there is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.” That reminds me of growing children. We have no idea where their lives will take them, or who they will influence someday, but each of us knows how family influenced us. From that we surely learned it’s not gifts a child needs, but presence. It’s not Disney World that’s required, it’s the small, everyday moments.

Don’t forget, parents, that their days at home are numbered.

About The Author

Antje Hill

Antje Hill spends time between Mississippi and Michigan and loves writing and speaking at various events.

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