Sunday, May 17, 2009
Twenty four years ago, I made the decision to be a parent. At the time, I could not imagine my life without kids and still can't. I'm lucky. I didn't have to struggle much to get them, but it sure has been an adventure having them. I could tell you it was a joy all the way through but the truth is, there were challenges along the way. Last weekend was Mother's Day. I never want gifts, a card - one that expressed their feelings, was all I hoped for. I got what I wanted. I read the card that my eldest son picked that said "I see how you put your needs aside for me" and think that he may have realized that our social life revolved around his schedule and his friends and his enjoyment. The card my daughter picked said "I realize how lucky I was to have someone like you to depend on" and think of the days when she felt alone and needed our presence. And the Snoopy card my youngest chose offering a hug instead of a clean room - yeah that's right. They think so much of me yet, there is so much more that I wish I could do but know that I should not or can not do. I wish there was an easier road for them to take but there isn't. I cannot interfere with their choices in love even when I know the partner is so wrong for them. I can not make their coach pick them for a play even though I know they should be picked because they are that good. I cannot ask their friends not to disappoint them by canceling plans last minute. If I did, that would be the utmost sin a parent can do. These are the facts of life - it isn't always fair and there isn't any other way to learn it except to get through it. Yes, I deserve a lot of credit for doing the hardest thing a parent can do and that is not to parent. I let them fall and I don't sleep that night because I don't want them to feel the pain. I sometimes wonder how my own mother did it. I was not a perfect child. In my young adult years, I stayed out too late, dated the wrong guy and made the wrong choices about my future. I guess the answer is that she let me fall and because of it, things didn't turn out too bad after all. She never seemed to struggle with those decisions. She just seemed to me to be a smart woman who put her needs aside for me and for who I could depend on. I can only hope.