01 March 2008

There's nothing Good about it.

I knew a woman who was nervous around microwave ovens. It seems she believed they were harmful to your health and would eventually cause cancer by standing near one and consuming the food heated in it. She believed the waves were bad for your heart.

Those fears were unfounded – for her anyway.

She ought to have feared her son, instead of the micro-wave.

She died on her front lawn from a gun-shot wound to the heart – inflicted by her 23-year-old son, who then turned the gun on himself.

When we first set out to have children, we have aspirations for them – none of which include drugs or violence. We hold our infant child, no larger than our arms can handle, and whisper to her our hopes and dreams. We watch with adoring eyes as she grows; reach out to catch her when she takes her first tumble while learning to walk… and for awhile, wonder if she'll be able to take more than a few steps before kissing the carpet again. But she masters the art, and soon we’re chasing her around the house.

I’ve heard women say they’d like to have a child for the unconditional love between mother and child.

Newsflash: That whole 'unconditional love' thing on her part lasts about 2 years.

Then your adorable child does the unthinkable – she starts to develop a personality of her own. She wants to feed herself in the highchair, even though more makes it to the floor than in her belly. (All toddlers are morons – they get more on them, than in them.) She doesn’t want to wear that beautiful dress you bought because the lace is itchy. She doesn’t like the gym shoes you picked out because her nemesis in junior high gym class has the exact same pair…

Then high school - and the fights begin.

The “I hate you!”s and the rolling of the eyes…
You think it, too, but you’d never say it to your child… instead you say, “I love you, but I do not love your behavior.” She throws a dirty shirt at you, grunts something indiscernible, and slams her bedroom door in your face.

And you sit quietly on your couch, remembering her little hand in yours; the way she looked up at you with total trust and commitment; her little voice saying; “I love you mama. I want to live with you forever.”

Then you hear her scream from inside her room; “I can’t WAIT to get away from you; to move out of this house!”

And you wonder what you did to change this angel into a devil in a matter of months. You wonder why you were unable to show your love for her better. You wonder if it will ever be good between you two again.

But it will. And, it does. And she calls you from her apartment/dorm and talks to you about her heartaches, sister problems and money woes. You help her out when you can, but you feel like it’s never enough, because you sense her growing away from you every day. You see her becoming more a woman and less your little girl.

And then she really does leave. You find yourself standing on the front porch, watching her drive away with her boyfriend. And you know you may never see her again because she’s moving to the other side of the country to be closer to his family. And your heart breaks once more. The tears flow. Not for the first time, you wish you could have done more to connect with her. You hope she knows just how much you love her; how much her presence enhanced your life. And, you let her go.

Goodbye, Peaches. I’ll miss you. Take care of you.
p(m)s. Danna, please look out for your little sister for me, will you? I miss you, too.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The only wise thing my sis=in-law ever shared with me: "The minute they begin walking, they begin walking away from you" Wait, she also said, "If you are going to work outside they home, it's probably better to do it while they are younger, because when they become teenagers they will need you more!" One thing I know, as hard as it was to watch them grow as little people, learning to walk, and talk and negotiate social situations, I feel it's harder to watch them once they become legal adults. Still children in so many ways, but now legally responsible for their actions, behaviors and decisions. This age is even harder for me as I watch them struggle to connect the dots between the relatively carefree, sheltered teens years and the crazy, nonsensical "adult" world in which they are trying to find their place; knowing their is little more I can do than love them and pray for them and be there when we can. I wonder if we tore holes like that in Mom's heart? Peaches Louise - know that you are always loved, in the deepest sense, all you girls are. Life so often gets in the way, and some days i find myself, especially after hearing horror stories about kids that kill, did I hold them as much as I could? Did I tell them I loved them enough? Do they know? Will they remember how much they are loved when life really gets them down and they are having a hard time finding a reason to go on? I watch my boys struggle with their self worth and think they are unlovable whenever they find someone and someone doesn't feel the same. That hardest thing about being a parent is never knowing if you did a good job. We just have to have some faith and except that fact. From time to time I see or hear my boys and I know they are on the right path, but I also know sometimes the smallest decision results in the largest change, and not always for the better. It always comes back to the same thing - just love them as much as you can!

pass the popcorn, please!