I have three children. A daughter and two sons.
They are the most important thing I have ever done.
To say I am proud of them, is an understatement.
I cherish them
I adore them.
They also drive me completely insane. They are difficult. Each in their own way.
They are a reflection of my parenting mistakes and my parenting perfections.
They mirror my best traits and my worst traits. Sometimes that’s hard to watch.
Look, there’s my kid, being a dick, the same way I am a dick. There’s my kid losing his/her temper the way I lose mine. There’s my kid doubting themselves, the way I doubt myself.
Dammit. That’s hard.
But also it’s a good lesson. I learn from them. It’s important and hard and good. All those things.
We do the best we can, we parents. We aren’t perfect. We have our faults, many learned from our own imperfect parents.
But I love my kids. A lot. So much.
That’s the most important part. Loving them.
But what does it mean to love your children? Where does the love end and does it ever end?
I think it’s hard, recognizing that our kids aren’t exactly what we imagined them to be.
I wanted a daughter who would wear pretty dresses and love dolls and have tea parties with me and do theatre with me and write stories and play make believe.
Instead I have a shy, athletic daughter who refused dresses by 18 months, thought dolls were scary, and doesn’t want anything to do with theatre.
But she’s mine. She’s my girl. She isn’t what I imagined her to be.
But she’s wonderful. I cannot imagine my life without her. It would devastate me.
I know two people who have “disowned” their children.
I pride myself on being a non-judgmental person. But this I judge, this disowning of children. And I ask myself what is our obligation to these people we bring into the world? Are we obligated to love our children unconditionally? And what does it mean to love unconditionally?
One of the people I know who has turned away from his children did so because they hurt his feelings. Deeply. He had divorced their mom when they were young and moved to another state and remarried. His children struggled and their mom was angry and blamed him for the divorce, for her struggles, for destroying her life. He attempted to maintain his relationship with his sons. But she made it difficult and he didn’t fight hard. I know he didn’t. I was there. He had married my mom.
I absolutely cannot understand it.