We were all at the park today while the Mr. was across the street for an audition. I noticed a lovely woman with a pre-school aged son. She sat on a bench watching him play, initially. Then she began pushing him on the tire swing. They were having a conversation that was basically about making friends. She told him what a good job he did introducing himself and gave him suggestions on other ways he could make new playmates on the playground. It was reminiscent of conversations I used to have with oldest around the same age.
Oldest was staying close to the kiddos while I did a little writing. Later I moved closer to them while he relaxed under a shady tree. The middles, the toddler and her son were all playing nicely together. His mother eventually approached me to compliment me on how nice my children were with her son and to play with him. She was very sincere. I told her I thought it was because they were used to having a little brother around and also their older brother was a good example.
"Well, they all must have got it from somewhere." She said referring to me.
"Thank you." I responded, accepting her compliment.
She inquired how I felt about the age gaps. (oldest is 7.5 years older than #2 and #3 is 7 years older than the toddler) I told her , honestly, how much I really loved it, actually. Admitting how over whelmed I felt when the middles were younger being only 2 years apart. Plus, what a great help older kids are to younger ones.
"So..I have to ask then, what is your secret for such wonderful children? you've obviously done a really great job," she finally said.
I smiled, unsure how to answer. Do I say what I really *want* to say? Do I beat around the bush? Do I really have an answer to give? After a split second hesitation I finally decided to just go for it and respond how I honestly felt like answering.
"Well, if there is a secret, if I'm being honest, I know everyone can't do it but I really think it's due to homeschooling," I smiled. "I mean, I really love it. I tell everyone that I think everyone should homeschool. Life is just so short and your children have such short childhoods, it's so great to be able to spend all that time together. And since they are together so much, I think they realize, they've got to make it work because all they have is each other. I mean they have outside activities but for the most part, we're together most of the time. And when you are together so much, everything is magnified but you can address issues right then and there and really be on top of it."
I was ready for her to gently begin to walk away and smile politely but she stayed put and responded sincerely. We continued our conversation talking about the weather, our desire to go to the snow this season and the fact that she's from New York. I told her how I recognized the conversation I over heard her having with her son earlier, from conversations I used to have with oldest on how to make friends. She recommended a website for condo vacation rentals by owners.
I left feeling so encouraged. It's nice to hear compliments like that, right? It's reassuring. It was a great highlight of a wonderful day. And reminder that people are noticing, not that that is why we choose to parent well, but it's good to remember when we're tempted to NOT parent so well either.