One of my mother's favorite phrases is, "Revel in your idiosyncrasies." I think the first time I heard her use the saying, I was about 13. "Revel in your what?" was my reaction. I had no idea what idiosyncrasies were, but they certainly didn't sound like anything I wanted to revel in.
Eventually I learned that idiosyncrasies are the little quirks, mannerisms, and personal peculiarities that make each of us unique. A light bulb came on.
"A-ha," I thought. "No wonder Mom wants to revel in her idiosyncrasies. She has a ton!"
My mother is to earrings what Imelda Marcos is to shoes. She speaks fluent Pig Latin, has her own rubber vomit, delights in collecting Halloween costume accessories, strikes up conversations with strangers standing in line at the grocery store, and is the best pie-maker in northern Utah. And she's proud of it.
You might think my Mom sounds like a nut. She is. You might also wonder how all of this ties into parenting. I'll tell you.
Parents who revel in their idiosyncrasies send their children the message that being different isn't just okay, it's wonderful. This, in turn, can give kids the ability to accept, even celebrate, their own unique traits and abilities.
"All right," you say. "So we each have idiosyncrasies. But when do busy parents who are usually focused on their kids get time to revel?"
Truth is, it takes time, planning, and a little patience.
Just ask Kathryn Stevens, mother of 11 children. As a high schooler she participated in the annual Powder Puff Derby -- an all-girl drag race held at the county fair. This, combined with the influence of older brothers who meticulously cared for their cars, left her with a love for classy automobiles.
The summer before she got married, Kathryn worked in Ann Harbor, Michigan, and before coming home she bought a brand new '67 Pontiac Firebird direct from Detroit. It was her first love.
With marriage and children, however, the car soon spent more and more time parked in the garage. Eventually, the Stevens sold the car and bought a vehicle that would fit their growing family. In spite of this, Kathryn never stopped loving her '67 Firebird.
A few years ago Kathryn tracked down her beloved car, now greatly in need of repair, and she bought it. It has been restored to its original glory, complete with candy apple red paint, black vinyl top and red interior.
Every year Kathryn enters the car in a local cruise-in and enjoys seeing people do double-takes. Perhaps they're asking themselves, "What is a mild-mannered housewife doing with a car like that?"
The answer is simple. She's just reveling in her idiosyncrasies!