Rule Book for Parenting - Err on the Side of Love

     My mom told me today that parenting would be a lot easier if it came with a rule book.  It would be lots easier, but it wouldn't be nearly as much fun.  Parenting is one of the areas that I break nearly all the rules.    
     Mandy can paint her room in whatever style or color she wants to and change it on a whim.  I don't care if it matches the rest of the house.  She can pick up any hobbies and drop them when they no longer suit her needs.  She can dress how she wants and wear her hair long and short and every style in between.  She can read any book she chooses - banned or not while listening to Christmas music in June.
     She is a free thinker and a lover and a poet and a dreamer and an artist and the girl of my heart.  I couldn't be more proud of who she is or who she has been. 
     As a new parent, I tried to follow the rule book and was ready for the scheduled milestones to occur.  Mandy quickly let me know that wouldn't be the way things would work for us.  When I was at a loss, she taught her self sign-language and taught me to talk to her before she could speak.  She has always known what was best for her and set out to do it.  All I had to do was get out of her way and enjoy her adventures. 
     If we had done it my way, I never would have heard her say "I love you" in Latin or learned about her favorite quotes from the murals on her wall or had a turtle or dressed her as Antarctica for a comic/anime festival or heard of her dreams to travel in Paris or any of the other wonderful gifts she gives me every day.  I wouldn't have her.  I would only have a pale imitation. 
     It sure would have been easier with a rule book, but sometimes you just have to put your faith in the universe and err on the side of love.  Lots and lots of love.

Recent Posts by Tiffany Mangum Cooke

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