If life was as simple as our dogs life, I would be laying in front of a fire with a teddy in my mouth too! After all - noise, people, life's circumstances doesn't seem to bother him at all. For him, as long as he's a part of our family and fed, he's content and extremely happy! Wouldn't that be nice for the rest of us?! Lately I can't complain too much as a parent because everything that we deal with is normal (considering) times twelve. I read in another blog about lowering expectations. I always talk to our children about patience, don't expect too soon or at all. Usually with time everything either pans out or it doesn't. Sometimes for me as a Mother, I become "quiet" Depending on the circumstance of any situation, I usually choose when to approach it. Basically when I feel it's "safe" too. Even I'm learning to choose my battles. I am also reminding myself not to expect different reactions from our children. Like appreciation. Like a "Thank you" I have to remember that with time comes this word called appreciation. If I go about my day remembering not to expect anything, I wouldn't become disappointed when I receive a different response that I expected to receive. Our oldest son seems to be doing really well now being back at home. I can't believe he's seventeen! I've noticed with "Mothering" it's hard to transition into relating differently with semi to adult children. I had to explain to our two oldest that it's hard for me. I'm still their Mother but now it's about their choices they make. I'm now here to either pick up the pieces or to congratulate along their way. Basically letting go holding their hand is extremely hard. I also refer to having twelve children because we do but only eight or nine join us most of the time. Something I've accepted. I'm still their Mother but I stopped expecting or forcing their presence, it's time for them to make choices and become an individual. This is one of my prime examples of lowering my expectations, being patient with appreciation because realistically they're growing up, finding their own way and will appreciate what is or what was with having years with those fundamental skills. One thing for me having such a wide age range (I hope) but not expect that it gives me the experience that I didn't have before. I'm definitely feeling good about our teen-adults and hoping this makes me more understanding for our next batch seeking Independence. Life will never be as content as our dogs life but wouldn't it be wonderful to be so satisfied? Not something to ever expect but a great thought.