Tops on our list of Parents We Admire was Cousin Casey. Casey is the wife of The Gorilla's first cousin and they own the lake house next door to ours. We've created a family compound of sorts. Spending our summers fifty feet away from one another means that I've had plenty of opportunity to stalk Casey while she parents her two children, ages eleven and nine.
The Gorilla calls Casey a SuperMom, but he doesn't mean it in the frenzied, overwrought way that has become the norm for that title. (Why, I wonder, does "SuperMom" now have a negative connotation? Without achieving perfection or anxiety, shouldn't we all strive to be Super Moms? Or is that not cool anymore?) Cousin Casey is a SuperMom because she'll be teaching the whole neighborhood how to get up on water skis (in her bikini), then an hour later serve us all a feast of food. In her spotless house.
Now, those are the reasons I want to be Cousin Casey, but they are not the reasons that she is a good parent. From this momma's point of view, she strikes a solid balance between stern and loving. That may sound simple, but her kids are polite and respectful to adults, outgoing and friendly with other kids, and still like to spend time with their mom. Within all the fun activities that Casey creates (and there are a lot), there are also clear boundaries. She is friendly with her kids, but there is a delineation between her and their friends. She commands respect without screaming that she deserves respect.
I'm still not sure what Cousin Casey's secret is, and even if I did I'm not sure her formula would exactly work in our little family with different personalities at play. But it has been important to me as a new parent to identify people in my life that I can watch and learn from, that I can trust with a solid answer, and that I feel I can follow in their footsteps.
Do you have that person? Who in your life is your parenting model?