What my children need to understand about being a parent-When I was young, my parents would say,
“When you have children, you will understand.”
Now, there are a lot of things that I don’t understand about my parents, but what I know is that they weren’t lying when they said this.
If anything, they waited, in their grief, their frustrations and disappointments, their absolute terror, fears, with held breaths and clenched- sometimes grasping hands. They waited in their joys and moments of awe. In the moments we rendered them inconsolable, in the moments when we were as such. They waited in dark living rooms. Dimly lit kitchens next to phones. Lonely beds while they pondered where they went wrong in their own lives that somehow lead to the wrongness we were acting out in ours. They waited in cars that drove through neighborhoods, looking. Caught somewhere between wringing our necks and hugging us until our lungs collapsed. They waited in a state of love, so close to fear and pride and self doubt at their own abilities…They waited for understanding. The kind that, until you have held that tiny little being- the one that suddenly wants nothing to do with you…you cannot understand.
That’s what we do. We wait.
We know our voices drone on and all you want is someone to listen, but we just want to help. To save you the trouble. The pain.
We walked that road so you wouldn’t have to. Just like all parents do. Or should, I suppose.
The point is, it’s true. We know. We understand. We’ve been there. We have shortcuts and pain free ways of doing things…and we love you. We live you. We live you in a way you will never understand until you do.
And we wait. Just like you will. And you know what? We will wait then too- except with you.