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Cheerleading for my children

Maria Cunningham

It’s six o’clock and I am just starting to consider what to have for dinner.  It’s been one of those days where once my feet hit the floor from waking up, they never stopped running.  Just as I start to brown the meat for tacos, the phone rings.  It’s my daughter who is away at college.  She needs to talk.  It’s been a rough day for her.  Everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong.  And she is so homesick.  So, I do my best to listen and provide the consolation that I can over the phone.  After about forty-five minutes, she’s feeling better and we are able to hang up and agree to talk later that evening.  Back to the tacos.  I was able to finish the meat and chop all the vegetables during my talk with my daughter.  Thank goodness for wireless phones!

Just as I get ready to set the table, the phone rings again.  This time it’s my son who is also away at school.  Thankfully, he is not in a “crisis moment” and is fine with me calling him back later.  Whew!  Now we can have dinner!

That evening, after getting the younger ones to bed and then, reconnecting with my two older children away from home, it struck me that I had added a new “role” to my resume of “Mom”.  I was a cheerleader for my older children.  Even though not at home, they still needed to hear my voice.  Facing new challenges – academically and emotionally –they still needed me. 

And cheerleading an older child is much different than encouraging a younger child.  It’s more about listening and not trying to fix things or tell them what to do.  It’s about reassuring them that they can meet the challenge ahead of them no matter what the odds.  It’s about pointing out how far they have come.  It’s about supporting and loving them even when they fail.  It’s about letting them know that when the going gets tough, I’m here for them anytime of the day. 

Thinking of my best cheerleader, my mom, I realized that I will be spending the rest of my life being a cheerleader for my children.  And I’m glad of it.

Topics: Family , Home Management , Motherhood , Parenting

Maria Cunningham lives in Fairfax, Virginia with her husband Chuck, and their ten children.   Maria provides a look into her life as a "mom-of-many" at her blog Home Sweet Heart.

View all articles by Maria Cunningham

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