Still learning…

Sometimes reading a simple message on a social website can and does change not only your day, but your being. That happened to me last night when I went on to facebook and read a friend’s message of condolence.

You see I knew the boy she was talking about. Not well, at least not anymore. He had been a friend of The Daughter’s when she was in primary school. As they grew up they grew apart…he to his world and she to hers.

But I remember the little boy with the wide smile, soft eyes, the gentle heart.

I remember the shine all over his face when he gave her a gift. Plastic earrings that his Dad had salvaged from somewhere.

After I read the message I rang The Daughter. Not just to be sure that she had heard the news, but to hear her voice and know she was safe. Then I rang The Son. I made sure to tell them “I love you” before I hung up the phone.

Because my mother’s heart knows that this is something Jono’s parents will never be able to say to their child again…and not being able to utter those words so that he can hear them, will tear and rent theirs in to a million pieces that can never be reassembled.

It took a long time to find sleep last night. Because I was angry at myself for wasting time. I have wasted so much time in disagreeing with choices my children make. I’ve wasted time in being angry, disappointed, when I could have been wrapping them in love, my love.

It is much harder than I imagined when my belly began to swell, this being a parent.

Because it is not just about feeding them, teaching them, making them ready to go out and grab their space in this world.

Being a parent is about letting them be. And loving them exactly as they are.

Recently The Son had a lucky escape. A car ran over his foot…broke two toes…it could have been so much worse. And I could have known first hand what Jono’s parents know. I guess The Son wasn’t the only one who had luck riding his back that day.

I can’t imagine what Jono’s parents are feeling…because when I imagine something happening to The Daughter or The Son, my body collapses under the mere thought. I can go no further in to it, and I do not want to.

I am sorry it took their loss to make me realise what I have not lost.

What are expectations anyway ?

The dictionary definition: taking something for granted; something expected Synonyms: acceptance, accepting, assuming, belief, conjecture, expectation, fancy, guess, hunch, hypothesis, inference, posit, postulate, postulation, premise, presumption, presupposition, shot in the dark, shot, sneaking suspicion, stab, supposal, supposition, surmise, suspicion, theorization, theory.

Why do any of us presume to expect something from others ?

Haven’t we all experienced the weight of others’ expectations of us ?

And why do we weigh ourselves down in disappointment when others behave differently than we would ?

Isn’t that the way things should be ?

Each one of us is unique. Therefore our behaviour in any situation will be unique, different to how others will behave. As a parent is that not what we work toward ? That our children will confidently stride forward as they map their own path. And yet…when they don’t stick to our plan, we presume to know better.

Why ? Because we’ve lived longer. Does that really mean we know better, or just that we think we do ?

These are some of the questions that kept me awake last night.

No.

I still don’t have all the answers to them…but I found a few.

I won’t be wasting time anymore on expectations. I’ll be using those precious moments to just love my children – exactly as they are.

Unique.

Perfectly flawed.

Questing individuals.

Exactly as they should be.

***

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34 thoughts on “Still learning…”

  1. Only a few days ago, I too read a post a second-cousin had written on facebook, asking for prayers, her 18 year old son had tried to commit suicide, his mom was writing/asking for prayers from the ER. My thoughts took me to a similar place as yours did Jo, thankful for the blessings of my children and wishing there weren’t so many miles between us.

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  2. Wonderful share. Thought provoking. For years now, the last thing I say to my kids when I talk to them is “I love you”. You never know when you next conversation with your children will be your last. Nothing in life is promised.

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  3. How terribly sad, Jo. Every parent experiences similar emotions when presented with any kind of tragedy involving children. Thank you for your reflective thoughts on expectations. This topic is very pertinent to me at the moment and your views and challenges have struck a chord and given me cause to reflect. X

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    1. You’re right Gilly..it is too horrible a prospect to consider. There is never any age that it is anything less…cliche as it is…a parent should never bury a child…not ever.
      😦

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  4. This is one of my favorite posts. I feel for Jono’s family. Thank you for reminding me not to take things for granted and to accept my loved ones as is.

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  5. That was beautiful Jo, thanks for sharing your thoughts and emotions on this. I am a very lucky Pirate, even during the teen years when we never seemed to agree on anything, there has never been a day since my birth, where I didn’t know my parents loved me, and vice versa of course, 🙂

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  6. I never had any children so I never felt the vulnerability or fear of losing them. I’m not a member of that special club of people. I’m not jealous. Actually I am quite happy having only to worry about myself and my spouse. I worry about my siblings, nieces and nephews, my mother, but it’s not the same as the worry that haunts parents. Every parent I’ve known is haunted, even just a little, by the fear that something will happen to hurt their children. I would have made a terrible neurotic parent, so it is a good thing I never had any children.

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  7. Bless you Jo. There are no rules are there to being a parent? Like you said ‘we are all unique’ that means parents and children alike. I have always said that life is hard enough and so I try not to make it any harder if I can help it. As an example; my youngest son is in a situation that i don’t particularly like but rather than put my opinions on him I just go with the flow, accept the situation because it’s his life/his choice and ultimately if he is happy then I am happy. He talked to me the other night about this and I just said that as a parent I see my role as advisory/caring/loving/guiding but NOT interfering and that I’ve made umpteen wrong decisions in my lifetime and am therefore no authority on anything! Don’t beat yourself up over this, we all feel guilt and wish we could turn the clock back sometimes, I’m pretty sure your kids know they are very loved – it oozes out of you!

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    1. Parenting is very tricky at times…but I do love them…and love being their Mum. i do know they know I love them…telling them is more for my sake. So I know they know…and so on.
      🙂

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