Creative expression through the written word

When the heart aches

I’ve seen lots of quotes and word art that all talk about how the hardest part of being a parent is when your kids grow up. Such simple words but they hold so much meaning in truth. And, as cliche as it sounds unless you are a parent you simply can’t understand what that means- not really. Not on a gut, deeply felt heart level. 

It’s easy to look at your small child’s face and know you would do anything for them. Protect them. Nurture them. Be their cheerleader in this game we call life but as your child grows and their independence and their understanding of who they are as individuals begins to take precedence it gets a little harder. Struggles between your need to protect and their need to be independent are more frequent. Each of you trying to find your way through this thing called growing up. 

What then happens when they become adults and you must stand by and watch them make mistakes, lapse in judgment, fall down, get their hearts broken? How does a parent survive? How do you advise but allow at the same time? How do you love but let them fall down? 

Everything within me wants to protect my sons from any form of hurt, disappointment or heartache. If I could keep those things from them, spare them those lessons I would. But I can’t. So instead I face those moments with grace and calmness hoping to be a port in their storm instead of doing what I really want which is to roar in anger and charge to the attack like the “momma bear” they call me. 

But to stand witness to their growth and the pain of life along the way can be devastating and heartbreaking to a parent even if the child ends up just fine. It takes longer for a parents heart to forgive the pain done to their child then it does for the child to forgive and move on. 

Now add in the fact that I not only have 3 sons but I have an extended “brood of kids” that call me mom and just imagine the sometimes overwhelming feeling of joy and heartache I feel as I watch all of their lives unfold- for better or for worse.

Everyone always tells me it’s so great that these kids call me mom, feel comfortable with me, and it is….I wouldn’t trade it for the world but the flip side to that coin is the worry over them, the loss when they leave and quit talking to you, the heartache when they are hurting, the protectiveness that comes when they are boldly out there living life and all the while having to simply stand as witness as they experience life as it comes.

No one said parenting is easy. Children don’t come with an instruction manual. The scariest thing you can do is look at a child and know you are responsible for them becoming a healthy, fully functioning, contributing member of society. That this life (or lives as the case may be) has been left in your hands. It’s an honor- a privilege, that not everyone gets to experience.

So…..for me……when the heart aches for my “children” and the tears fall I know it’s because I am blessed to love them and be loved by them in return and perhaps they can forgive me roaring once in awhile as I fight to protect that which I love. 

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