Do you ever have those moments when life’s deepest lessons suddenly click and you say to yourself “Ahhhh, now I get it!” The older I get the more I seem to have those “Ahhhh…” moments where things I have struggled for years to understand suddenly become completely clear and I think to myself “Dang I wish I would have gotten that years ago…”
Today I had one of those moments regarding Parenthood. Ah, yes, parenthood, the hardest job on the planet: The job where you give your heart and soul and every waking moment to taking care of their every need 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s also the scariest job on the planet: The job where you lay awake at night wondering if you are doing a good enough job to teach your kids to be good members of society someday. It’s also the most infuriating job at times: The job where you can’t seem to win a negotiation, you can’t seem to ever be cool enough, you can’t figure out whether they want you to be there to hug them goodbye in front of the schoolyard or if they will be mortified and embarrassed if you do. It’s also the most depressing job at times: When after all the years of struggling to raise them they finally reach an age where you can’t wait to hang out with them, only to find out they would much rather hang out with their friends than their parents.
Without question, being a parent can be a tough job. And it was in one of those tough moments today that I had my “Ahhh, now I get it” life lessons hit me.
As a kid I thought parents just didn’t get it. Then as an adult I thought, kids just don’t get it. Today I realized, both of those statements are true. Parents DO live in a constant state of “not getting it”. As parents we can’t get how kids could be so oblivious to how much we love them and how much we do for them and how much we would sacrifice for them. But as kids it would literally be impossible for the kid to get it, kids CAN’T get it, because the truth is that no one could ever truly appreciate exactly how deep a parents love goes until they, themselves, have been an actual parent. I know I didn’t get it until I became one and then I stopped and went, “Dang, that is how my parents were feeling when I acted like that”, or “Oh, now I see why my dad or mom got upset with me for behaving like that”, or “Ouch….did I ever make my parents feel like that??” And in those moments, I finally got it. I got what it was like to be the parents: worrying, loving, sacrificing, hoping that you are doing it all right, while constantly feeling like you are doing it all wrong. Then hoping that your child appreciates everything you are trying to do. But they can’t. Not the way you want them to. At least not yet. Because they have not yet experienced what it means to be in your shoes –to be the parent.
So you love them. At times you endure them. You always hug them. And you wait for the day to finally come when they will have their “Ahhh, now I get it” moment because they are finally a parent themselves. And when that day comes know that they will appreciate you in ways you never imagined possible. They will be grateful for everything you ever did for them and they will be sorry for all the times they caused you angst.
And to my own parents I would say, “THANK YOU” and “Holy cow I am sorry for ever causing you stress or hurt or frustration, forgive me for my teenage years….okay and even a few of the early adult years…You are the best parents ever and I am lucky to have you as mine.”
Today’s lesson: Be patient with your children and hang on to the fact that someday they will appreciate you the way you want them to…and for us parents be grateful to our parents and let them know how much they mean to you, heaven knows they deserve to hear that.