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.
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.
Exactly as they should be.