Once we grow up and cautiously advance into the wild and wonderful world of parenthood, one of the most amazing adventures of our busy lives will be bringing up children — first our own, and then the generations that follow.
No matter what category we may fit into now, we all started out being raised under the watchful eye of our own parents, and hopefully we remembered some of their skills and stressful challenges when it was our turn to do the great mom/pop experience. Somehow we did manage to survive of course, but then we must face the rather delicate procedure of accepting a totally different role when our flock starts to fill their nests.
In a salute to all phases of children, parents, grandparents, and parents-to-be, here is the delightful process most of us went and will go through during the day-to-day joys and jolts of raising a family. Of course we have all been blessed with a few gray hairs and a washtub full of worries along the way but it somehow works out for the best, and we must always look forward to carrying on the love, care, and cuddles long into our “Golden Years.”
The diary of being a parent, now and forever
When I was in my 30s I sat on a little chair in a classroom and heard with horror one of my children talked incessantly, disrupted the class, and was headed for a career of making license plates. As if to read my mind a teacher insisted, “Don’t worry, they all go through this bratty stage, but later you will be able to sit back and enjoy them.” Meanwhile, my own parents just smiled faintly and said nothing.
When I was in my 40s I spent a lifetime waiting for the phone to ring, for the cars to come home or for the front door to open. A good friend insisted, “Don’t worry, they’re just trying to find themselves, and in a few years they will be adults, off on their own, and out of your hair.” Meanwhile, my parents just smiled faintly, and said nothing.
I was still worrying about my children but now there was a new wrinkle. Even though they were on their own, I continued to anguish over their failures, be tormented by their problems and frustrations, and absorbed in their disappointments — and there was nothing I could do about it. Meanwhile, my parents just smiled faintly and said nothing.
My friends claimed when my kids got married I could stop worrying and get on and lead my own life, which of course I wanted to believe. But I was haunted by my parents’ warm smile and their occasional but concerned statements such as, “You look pale, are you all right?” “Are you depressed about something?” “Call us the minute you get home!”
My friends always claimed when I became a grandparent I would enjoy those happy little voices yelling, “Grandma, Grandpa!” But now I find that I fuss just as much about those little duffers as I did about the big ones and wonder how anyone can ever cope with all this worry? Can it be that parents are sentenced to a lifetime of worry? Is concern for one another handed down like a torch to blaze the trail of human frailties, and the fears of the unknown? Is concern a curse or is it a virtue that elevates us to the highest form of earthly creation?
Recently, one of my children became quite irritable on the phone, “Where were you? I’ve been calling for three days and no one answered. I was really worried. Are you OK?” It was then that I could finally sit back in my favourite rocking chair, chuckle, and smile very warmly because the torch had finally been passed.
That is a wonderful message for all of us, because over all those years we have stood the test of raising a family, while along the way, through the good times and the bad, we have managed to continue to love and cherish them all, so much, no matter what. And we would have absolutely no hesitation of doing it all over again, would we?
Here is why we love them so much
In a school question period the teacher asked Johnny what his favourite animal was and he replied, without hesitation, “Fried chicken!” and everyone laughed except the teacher. Next day the teacher went back to the same subject, asking him what his favourite live animal was and he told her it was the chicken, because they could be turned into yummy fried chicken, which earned him a trip to the principal’s office.
Assuring the principal he was taught to always give an honest answer, Johnny was sent back to his room. The next day when his teacher asked him to tell her what famous person he admired the most, he answered, “Colonel Sanders,” and just guess where he is again.
Meanwhile, enjoy this warm fall, and have a great week, all of you!