I spend most of my life trying to convince myself that my kids are the most important thing to me. I am convinced of that, of course. But, I also spend a great deal of time wondering if they will be the end of me.
I have spent the weekend shuttling my kids around to various forms of entertainment: dinners, movies, play areas, game stores, and the like, when I wondered why I do all of this.
I was recently reminiscing with my best friend about how much I went through fighting for my oldest when she was very young. Arrangements made it impossible for me to move out of our city for a new beginning. She has always had a strong charism and been very beautiful, but she also inherited my stubborn personality. I struggled to get her through Kindergarten, Middle School, and even High School. I picked her up from the police station in the middle of the night after she snuck out after curfew and was discovered. She continues to do crazy things that tax the heart these kids don’t think I even have. And then last week, she said things about me to another that I am sure broke it.
My next daughter is going through what parents call “a phase.” She is a teen. She is short of temper and quick of tongue. My closest friend might quote the phrase, “skinny jeans and smarty pants.” Her brother, our youngest, who stayed up all night to see her home from band camp was crushed when moments after her arrival she called him an idiot. Until school starts again, she sleeps until noon each day. She reads none of her assigned reading; she does none of her chores; she practices none of her instruments; she helps very little. Help is given after we spend more effort coaxing than the task would have taken to do ourselves. She avoids us all and spends the day in her room on an iPad. She must be asked to smile.
My son is still small and cute and sweet. But along with the cuteness comes an overwhelming level of neediness. A chorus of “can I have,” “can you buy me,” “can I play,” “can you take me,” rings out from dusk till dawn. But these things are a little easier to deal with……when I go outside where I can’t hear!
Parents deny themselves so much so that they can give to their kids: money, fun, travel, and more. They don’t even know of all the things we gave up so that they could be well taken care of.
I feel this very strongly now, as I feel an overwhelming feeling of loss and heartbreak after a tumultuous week. The week came with some of the highest highs and lowest lows I have ever experienced. Through it all, my kids had no idea about either. We give them all of the happiness and take all the pain onto ourselves.
I pray God will help me to have the gratitude that I know I must have for these gifts He gave me. But I hope he will also give me the strength not to kill them before they kill me (I am being figurative here, of course). And God, maybe you could help the kids with some gratitude too!