Parenting is so hard. I often joke that if someone had convinced me of how much heartbreak comes with the job I would have never had children. Except, that I wanted kids. The more I had the more I wanted. They are amazing little creatures and for the lucky parents who can stay home and watch them grow everyday, it is albeit, long, a wonderful thing. Until that day that you let the outside world in. Whether its preschool or Kindergarten, they change. They say things you have never heard them say before. They do things that they never did before. Slowly, they even begin to think for themselves. Something happens then. You find yourself grieving the loss of your child as you raised them. You let the outside into your house and it went straight for your child.
We also, during this time, are still living our own life in the middle of every one of our children’s lives. Some do it without too much (at least from the outside looking in) stumbling. There are still holiday get togethers, Birthday parties, BBQ’s etc. Some of us though have to live through the brokenness of marriages,depression, divorce. Having to own the truth that you failed at providing the perfect up bringing of our children. They get frustrated, they get angry. We get frustrated and angry. Many of us tack on guilt and shame toward ourselves when we realize that whatever we choose to do in life we drag our children through the mess as well.
Most of us ( parents and children) survive. Not without a nagging pain, we think, ” I should have done… whatever different.” Young adults have that thought as well about us, as well as their own demons that tell them they should’ve acted differently. They have a nagging feeling once they have left the tattered nest, that we were disappointed with them. They sometimes think that perhaps we wish we never had them. They have to wonder if we may have lost the love for them while the storm raged in the household. Perhaps we would never forgive them for their part of the calamity of family life. Funny though, as parents, we are thinking the same thing. Our hearts hurt. Sometimes it seems as if its an impossible happening, our children still love us even after _________ . I now know that those beautiful children are worrying about the same thing.
Then suddenly, you find yourself sitting at an outdoor cafe with your #1 son. He is amazing and adult and carrying his own thoughts and worries about your opinion of him as much as you are worried about him still loving you. Funny but we both still love each other. We walked through the fire separately long before the beer and pizza in the sidewalk cafe. He hugged me and his little sister ( who is now as tall if not a bit taller than he) and held on tight.
He called my #2 daughter who has been fighting off addiction for a very long time. We both, #3 and me got to talk to her. We were once again, connected. I asked for her number and I will get it off of my #1’s phone. She wants to talk to me for fun and chatting. We were all aware that one of us is still missing. We were all aware that #4 has been left to be raised by bigots and liars and hate. We all miss her, Emma Bear, you have a complete family here and will always be here for the time you decide that family is important and your family is waiting, you family think of you, and you are welcome back, just as we all were today, under an umbrella with beer and pizza. We will hold your spot. As it seems as if all of us have been saving a chair for us all.
In fact, when we began to say our goodbyes, my son hugged me more times that I can count. I love you #1! I hope you find a way into see Third Eyed Blind… you may not remember it but we used to sing the Do do do do do ta do…. all the way from the grocery store. Yeah, its about heavy drugs, but it was fun and we would skip to the car singing that. And I was the luckiest woman in the world. I love you son. I never stopped. I never will. You are a piece of my heart and the memories are deep in my head. You have turned into a magnificent grown up. I will never lose touch with you again. Unless you hide really well. Then whaaaaa?