The Dark Side of Parenting
Part 3: We all lose our children
I think the hardest part about parenting is that we all lose our children; all of us. Those tiny babies that we smothered with kisses grow into adorable toddlers that say the cutest things. Then they grow into little kids that continue to melt your heart with hugs and kisses, and a love that is unlike any other.
But they keep growing. They grow into teenagers that become combative and disrespectful. They break your heart so many times that you don’t think you can handle it anymore. You’ve poured your blood, sweat, and tears into continuing their existence and they barely seem to tolerate yours. You miss holding them in your arms and whispering sweet words into their ear. You miss their giggles, and one day you realize that your children are gone.
They grow up into self-sufficient adults, and you are proud of that, but it still hurts. You wish for grandbabies to fill that emptiness in your heart, but they will grow up too. They will grow up and you will watch your child go through all of the emotions that you did, and your heart will ache for them. That’s when they will appreciate all of the things you did (and didn’t do) for them.
Well at least I hope it is, because I’m not at that point yet. My kids range from 7 months to 19 years, and I am going through a tremendous amount of pain and joy that I know will never end. Even though I have 6 children, and some of them are close in age (the first 3 are all 2 years apart), I know that one day I will have to let that last child go out into the world on her own, and I will mourn for my baby; that child that I lost. No one tells your how painful it is to watch a child grow up.
The first time it hit me was when my oldest son was around 15. I was showing him a picture of himself when he was little and he looked me dead in the eyes and said, “I’m not that kid anymore. That kid is dead.” It hurt so bad, but I knew he was right.
The only thing we can do is enjoy our children’s childhood as much as possible before it ends. Play with them, love them, and make it as memorable for them as it is for you. You will have lots of memories to reflect on, and talk about, even if that little baby is gone forever. Pass it on to your own children, so they never take their own children for granted. Then watch your grandbabies grow, just like their parents did. It is a magical experience, and I try to love every minute of it…including the bad times, because one day they will be gone, and all I will have is my memories.