03 February 2011

Get good grandparents.

Dear Children:

This small note is really for you and your spouse. So, you can probably put off reading it until, you know, 2030 or 2040 or so... =)

Every family counselor I've ever talked to for more than 3 seconds or read anything by has stressed that your marriage must be the center of your household.

If it's not, then if not before, when your children leave you, your life will fall apart.

And you want them to leave you. I know it's hard to imagine about the little people learning their first words or still confusing funny things, but if you do your job well, they will want to leave. They will want to strike out, do things, serve the world, find a life partner, and start the whole bloody process over again. If they don't want to leave, or are unable so to do, you will have failed. One of the things I have wanted most for you, little people of mine, is to grow up and get out. Yes, I can burst into tears just thinking about it, but in my core, that's what I pray for, desire, hope.

So, you must be you without them.
And if you're going to continue to share a household, y'all must be y'all without them.

(This last sentence is a great example of why the reconstruction-driven prejudice against southern language particularities is tragic - you NEED a plural of the second person. A plural that is different than the singular. And is still one word. Albeit a contraction, but still, one word, and different. Rrraaahhh)

Anyway, back to y'all. Just the two of us. (Cue mid-nineties Will Smith). Y'all, as an entity, are central. If you are good, likely the whole family will benefit, and if you are bad, likely the whole family will suffer.

Making sure you're good entails a whole host of intentional decisions.

One of those intentional decisions requires leaving the little people.

What? Leaving them? Don't they need us? Aren't we the best things for them? What will they do?

Well, they'll do a whole lot better being left for a bit than being the children of a miserable or broken marriage.

And honestly, you cramp their style as much as they cramp yours. Children need the occasional freedom from their parents that couples-only-vacations, summer camps, and date nights afford them. Someone recently described Ada as 'always under your thumb, ann lowrey' - and she is, for good reason. Paul and I are in charge of making sure she turns out to be thoughtful, responsible, educated, fun, God-fearing, people-loving and world-serving. And doesn't take herself too seriously. That's a lot of work. But she needs to be out from under that thumb every now and then. And she cannot do that with me around. Really, she cannot.

But as beneficial as time away can be for children, that is not its goal.

Its goal is for the parents.
For the parents. Did you hear me?
For these two people who are one flesh to be alone. You took a honeymoon to cement yourselves as one before coming back to real life. You have to do that again and again and again and again.

Recently, your daddy and I left you. For five days. Five whole days.

And it was glorious. We came back holding hands more, kissing more, and I'll leave it at that. We reconnected. We weren't disconnected by anything more than normal life, but normal life does that.

(A side note: It is quite difficult to build a meaningful relationship with someone with whom you cannot spend five days in a city and not be sick of them at all...and still want to visit on the plane ride home..)

But the thing I came back most thankful for was this: Grandparents.

Get good grandparents. And probably, don't move that far away from them. And if you aren't blessed with good ones, literally, get some. That's why the church made godparents. No, really. Name someone godparent to your child. Wait and see if they don't want to spend time with him or her. It takes a village, remember.

We dropped you people off with Grandma & Grandpa (Paul's parents), who then dropped you with Papa & Carrie (my daddy and stepmother), who then dropped you with Ba (my mother), who then dropped you with us. We didn't worry for one minute. No really. Not one minute. And no one called to worry us with you.

We missed you from time to time. But we didn't worry. Which meant we could go to dinner, visit art galleries, and museum after museum and only miss you because we wished you could see what we were seeing.

You are wonderful, you people are, but my time with your father is as precious as silver and gold and sapphires.

Thank you for letting us leave you, and when it's your turn, leave your little people with us. We'll like them, and get to give them back, making us like them all the more.



  1. Oohhhh, Ann Lowrey. Hear, hear! Your post made me cry. . . spot on. Amazing wisdom in the above words and I could not have possibly said it better. I'm not on FB very often but occasionally see your posts and enjoy your wit and humor. Your children are so blessed.

  2. Hey Ann Lowrey! Love your blog! I ve been thinking that a lot of your posts are publishable material!! You should consider getting this out! Esp given the recent attention to parenting bc of the "tiger mom" book. Miss you guys, so happy to hear that life is great for y'all!:)

  3. Jennifer -
    I wish our broods could get together! We miss you drake people all scattered all over the world.
    Anna - I think I'd have about 16 readers of the book, but I appreciate the kind words and encouragement!