By Teresa Cavaliere
West Palm Beach, FL, USA
(credit: Joseph J. Bucheck III)
Growing up in an old-fashion Italian family the rules were different for me and my brothers. For me it was simple. I took what my parents instilled in me and applied it to my life, not ever realizing that those rules were not meant for me but only for my brothers. As I was growing up in an American lifestyle, I was not going to stand behind but beside if not forging ahead of the man. So I left home at sixteen after graduating to conquer the world and grasp my dreams like the brass ring on a Merry-Go-Round. It wasn't until later in my adult life that I realized as much as my parents raised my brothers and me the same, the interpretation was to happen organically, like reading between the lines. Why would there be any difference just because you’re a girl or a boy? I didn't see a difference when it came to virtues, trust, respect, character etc.... I was the player and now I'm the coach. We all make mistakes that we learn from. That's life's lessons. I raised my son and daughter the same. When I look at my children and see how well they resolve their challenges, whether in school or life, I can honestly say, "I am a proud mother".
My son has moved into an apartment in his second year of college without my physical help and with very little monetary assistance. God knows we aren't nearly as comfortable as we once were, but he managed. His aunts, uncles, cousins and friends did what they could and he got it together. Some would say it’s not a big deal compared to my upbringing and the struggles of being disowned by a family whose beliefs were cast in stone (the Stone Age) and making it on my own at sixteen. So we tend to be more protective and coddle our children because of our own past, but these last years have forced my hand to the past rather than the proverbial silver spoon. We don't have a silver spoon any more and what a blessing in disguise it has been. It’s really hard at times, but a blessing all the same.
Of course I was there for his phone calls, talking over his dilemmas and working out a solution that ninety-nine percent of the time he did on his own. We all need someone we trust that we can talk to. Isn’t that what parenting is? But…the safety net will not always be there. We must let go enough to teach our children that they are their own safety net. It's a painful road, but that is the greatest gift I can give my children. As hard as it is to watch them fail at times, it's never failure because I see them come up with solutions that occasionally amaze me. They stand so tall each time the challenge is met. I have learned to let go by default. I can not say that I would have if my economic state were different. I don't know if I would have let go as much as I had to! So take baby steps and let go! It may just surprise you how much our children do listen to the lessons we are teaching them. Go on! Try it! Let Go!!