20 years ago today, I gave birth to a fair-skinned ginger-haired little boy. Although I’m only ½ Mexican, I expected an olive-skinned baby with lots of soft black hair, so this blue-eyed cherub was quite a surprise. Over the years, I’ve been asked if I colored his hair because of its beautiful strawberry blonde and amber hues, to which I laughed because I barely brush my own hair, let alone highlight the hair of my child.
If you’ve followed me over the years via Facebook & Insta, I’ve shared quite a bit behind the scenes of our lives. You’ve seen my boys grow and grow into their own, and now Josh and I find ourselves in the throws of empty nesting. A few years ago, the thought about this time and when it would come was harder than its now gradual actuality. I suppose, unlike the stereotypical scenario that’s played out over the media about teenagers, parents, and the peacing out that takes place as soon as the senior graduation bell rings, all four of us as a family really respect and enjoy each others company. We have our roles as parents and children, but we are also friends.
I’m no expert, as I only have two children and 4 godchildren of my own, but this is what’s worked relationally as a mother and for Josh and I both as parents. Below are a few things we decided on 20 years ago that have helped build our relationships with our 17 & 20-year-old sons today.
1. Do Everything Together:
This was a happy surprise out of necessity. In the early days, not living by our immediate family for support and being of meager means a sitter for any extra outing was out of the question. But living life full never was. We’d find creative ways to always include our kids in our activities and likewise us with theirs. This organically created empathy understanding articulate and extremely adaptable boys.
2. Watch, Listen, Learn:
I never wanted to overfill their schedule, but I wanted to nurture their interests. Instead of forcing ideas on them, we’d expose them to sport, art, and culture and see where their interests leaned. I always knew if they were dressed and ready to go to an extracurricular activity on their own, that is where we would invest our energy. We championed and found joy in their interests, watching them grow and flourish.
3. Everything is a Conversation:
From our own upbringing, we learned that respect is earned both ways. Josh and I made and make it a point to understand and really listen. Staying curious has been a cornerstone.
4. Personal Growth:
We knew we needed to stay fresh to keep life exciting because if you’re not growing, you’re dying. With change, we do our best to lean into the learning when stuck seeking a teacher until we gain insight. Also, living within the liturgical life of the Orthodox church has helped us create the rhythm of life that stretches and strengthens us, mediating the days between feasting and fasting and the polarities that life brings.
Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list, just a few things I’m reflecting on as our son Julian makes his solar return, and if you’re not familiar with that term, it’s just fancy for birthday.
If you’re reading this on your solar return, have one on the horizon, or know someone who does, you may like this roller blend just for the occasion.
Solar Return Roller
10 drops Valor
10 Drops Stress Away
10 drops Orange
Top with Carrier Oil
Roll on the bottoms of feet, spine, and places where the sun don’t shine.
( this is because orange is a photosensitive oil)
This blend evokes confidence, calm, and courage for the many years ahead. You can also use it before bed because it will help you rest really well.
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For an affordable, thoughtful, and energetic gift, pre-make, and give to the ones you love.
If you don’t have these oils, you can grab them in a bundle here.