"A word in earnest is as good as a speech"
~Charles Dickens: Bleak House

Thursday, July 19, 2012

What they do not tell you about parenting ......

Grief:Noun \grēf\
1.       obsolete: grievance
2.       deep and poignant distress caused by or as if by bereavement
a.       a cause of such suffering
3.       an unfortunate outcome : disaster —used chiefly in the phrase come to grief
a.       mishap, misadventure
b.       trouble, annoyance <enough grief for one day>
c.       annoying or playful criticism <getting grief from his friends>

When you become pregnant you begin getting all kinds of advice .... how to keep your children safe, what to feed them, the best schools, the best toys, discipline tactics, and on and on and on. And as your children get older there are books on how to parent toddlers, preschoolers, tweens and teens. How to get your kid in a good college - how to raise a good man - how to protect your children from bullies, drugs and bad influences. The list goes on and on.

And as a parent you are so caught up in the moment.

  • PTO meetings, soccer games, basketball, day trip adventures, playdough and legos and hot wheels.
  • Finding that one Christmas present they want more than anything in the world ... only to end up under the bed by summer.
  • Kissing boo-boos, cleaning throw-up at 3:00am.
  • Scouring E-bay to make sure all the school supplies have the same theme (at least on the first day).
  • Planning birthday parties on a budget.
  • Handing out discipline and responsibility even as the once loving eyes become daggers.
  • Keeping track of playdates, music lessons, practices, doctors appointments, school projects.
  • Remembering that you are their parent ... not the cool grandparents ... not the best friend.
  • Overcoming your own fears so they can dream and grow.
  • Going without so they don't have to.

Trying to photograph every moment because it is something new, or something special or something that makes you so so proud - even when they begin to refuse to smile.

Moments of a lifetime.

  • Taking away the monsters in the dark .... mending the first broken heart ..... the first steps, first words, first sleepover, first school trip, first broken heart, first ride as a passenger in their car.
  • Hoping that your child survives with minimal pain and heartache. Saving money all year for vacations that are fun - yet educational.
  • The moment when your child poses with his diploma in hand.

But no one prepares you for that one moment. That one random day when you are getting ready for work and your child looks you in the eye and says "I want to take control of my life and I can't do that here." And at the end of the day he is gone.
  • No one prepares you for the moment of grief and loss so strong you can't breathe.
  • No one prepares you for the anger so strong you want to break things and hurt someone so they feel your pain.
  • No one prepares you for the desire to grab your child and beg them to stay. The need to apologize for all the mistakes you know you made no matter how hard you tried not to.
  • No one prepares you for the echo of the empty room or the empty feeling in your chest because your heart has been ripped out.
  • No one prepares you for the sadness and the loss that turns again to anger because deep down you know they aren't hurting the way you are on their new adventure of freedom - the first real adventure without you.
  • No one prepares you for the gut retrenching physical pain that makes your chest hurt when you realize someone else has taken your place.
  • No one prepares you for the feeling of guilt - because logically you knew this day was coming at some point ... and you know he needs to live his own life .... but you are selfish and don't want him to go.

Where is the book that prepares you for this?
  • Where is the book that prepares you for the overwhelming fear because you will no longer know if he got home ok?
  • Where is the book that prepares you for the panic because you won't know if he is in pain - emotional or otherwise?
  • Where is the book that prepares you for tears that come so hard you can't catch your breath or those moments that catch you off guard and you are crying for no reason?
  • Where is the book that prepares you for the deep sense of loss so strong you are sure it will never go away?
  • Where is the book that teaches you how to maintain your need to stay connected at all costs .... with his need to not talk to you everyday?

What is the grief process for a child that lives 15 minutes away ..... so close but so out of reach. The advice I get now is give it time. But I have had 18 years to prepare for this moment .... and it just wasn't enough time.

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