One More Thing Nobody Told Me   Leave a comment

You probably have seen the quote.  I did around the time I was first pregnant, 19-some years ago.

“Making the decision to have a child is momentous.  It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”  Elizabeth Stone gets the credit for putting this into words, and maybe it’s what I deal with, but I don’t think so, close though it comes.

Of course, yes, this is true, if it means that what is most dear to me is not mine and cannot be kept safe.  Can’t argue with that.

However, for me right now, one of the hardest things about being a parent, and one that I don’t remember anybody mentioning to me before I had children, is this.

I want so much for my children to get what they want, that sometimes it gives me pain, emotional and physical. When contemplating longings my children have, my chest literally hurts.

Now please tell me I’m not the only parent who experiences this.  I really hate it, because I know well enough that reality is we cannot make things the way our kids want, we can’t keep them happy, we can’t smooth their paths through life.  It’s impossible and that’s the way it should be.

And it’s not that I don’t want my child to be unhappy because it’s unpleasant for me, although certainly there was a time when that was most of what I was about when I was trying to help them: avoiding the meltdown, the scene and the stress.  It’s definitely more fun when your kids are not unhappy.

And it’s not that I want them to have things they want that aren’t good or safe.  I have no difficulty ignoring what’s simple foolishness.  But that doesn’t really happen that often.

Nope, this is different.  This is really seeing who they are, and where they want to go in their lives, and agreeing with them in heart, mind, and spirit, that their desired path would be a great and wonderful thing.

And knowing that as much as I want it, my wanting won’t make it happen.

And I would give up quite a few wishes of my heart, vacations, new furniture, you name it, doggone it a limb or an organ! just so that child could have what he wants.

Nope, can’t be done.

I think I’m not the only one who knows this situation.  When I was 10 years old we had a bazaar for Halloween in the school gym.  My mom dressed up as a gypsy and was in charge of the wheel of fortune.  There were little prizes to be won when the wheel stopped on the number you guessed.  Somehow I got my heart set on this little transparent cat figurine.  I was so disappointed when the wheel went past my spot.  Bad place for my mom.  I don’t remember begging, although it’s certainly possible, but a few minutes later she gave the thing to me on the sly.

Looking back on that event, I now understand the thoughts and emotions driving that small act of illegality.

You want your kid to have what she wants.  I guess that’s a natural part of mothering.  But it’s one I certainly have to moderate.

I can intellectually align myself with this reality.

But the heart sure has a hard time keeping up.

Posted March 1, 2014 by swanatbagend in parenting

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