They were just 13 months and nearly three years old when their Dad died in a small plane crash. They were BABIES; I hadn’t even stopped nursing our son yet. He was still in diapers; she was just out of them, and life was so full of promise, potential, love, and light.
I was watching our daughter in dance class when I got a call that would forever shape their future.
As I drove home to await the police, fire-fighters investigates and more, I watched my little girl, in her car seat, playing with her blonde curls and her little bitty feet.
I was so scared for their future my entire being shook. The darkness that I stepped into that day can only be compared to a blackout of epic proportions.
As parents, all we want to do is to protect our children, give them the perfect family, a beautiful life, and shield them from pain. Yet, it seemed, in one soul-crushing moment, I was unable to provide them with the life I had dreamed of, and my entire being went dark. To this day, it is still one of the most helpless feelings I’ve ever encountered. The pain sucks away your breath, and the hopelessness devours your existence.
I was in shock from the loss, there is no doubt, but in even my most early moments, I remember being consumed with pain for my children that to this day has hardly lessoned like the other pain surrounding our loss.
I can’t fix this for them, EVER.
I can’t bring him back.
I can’t give them any of the memories with their Dad that I so desperately wanted to provide.
They won’t ever know first hand his bear hugs, his huge smile, his infectious laugh, and loving, kind heart.
Fast forward ten years and very little brings my heart more joy than how stable, happy, and ALIVE my children are, they have turned into such incredible humans through all of this pain, and I am that mom who brags on them every chance I get.
Listen, I’m a realist as well, I know my children aren’t perfect, and I don’t expect them to be. Just like every kid, they have good days and bad days. They occasionally get in trouble, get on my nerves, and mess up. They have days where they are sad or even angry about their father’s loss, and we take each moment as it comes, armed with the knowledge that life isn’t perfect for anyone, and we all have to be responsible for the choices we make when faced with adversity.
Still, I’m that mom that posts about their accomplishments, their wins, their parent-teacher conferences, their stellar attitudes, and their willingness to give and help others. I also post about their struggles and their difficult challenges and how we all learn and grow as we go.
Over the years, I’ve noticed how much I talk about my kiddos can rub people the wrong way. Maybe they think it’s too much, it’s over the top, or perhaps they are projecting things that are going on in their own lives onto my blogs/posts. I think as parents, we need to step back and realize that nobody has a picture-perfect life. When someone post, writes, talks, or highlights the good stuff about their children, it’s not a reflection of other parents or the kids they are raising; it is merely pride and maybe even a sigh relief for fears we all harbor when we become parents.
Every mom and dad fears for their children and their future; it is not just the parents who have lost a spouse. We all want our kids to be happy, safe, and productive members of society. Perhaps each small victory is a treasured gift that amongst all of life’s difficulties and our numerous mistakes as fallible human beings and parents, we must have done something right.
On that horrific day on a chilly October morning, I feared the worst for my children.
I didn’t think they would be okay.
I didn’t think they would be happy.
I didn’t’ even begin to allow myself to care if they would succeed at school, socially with friends, or as caring and empathic parts of society.
I certainly didn’t think they would be half the human beings that they have become today, and that reality, however hopeless at the time, gave way for two beautiful children who blossomed into their own laughter, joy, peace, and love.
My children aren’t perfect, regardless of what you take away from my writing, they are flawed just like their mother, but given what they have survived, and how immensely beautiful they see their world, I take great satisfaction in being their mother. My great fulfillment isn’t in sports scores or fantastic grades, but rather it’s in their character, their values, their moral compass, and their ability to laugh and smile at life’s simplest blessings.
I will post, I will share, I will smile, I will clap, and I will SCREAM from the top of my lungs with pride. I will ask for no permission or forgiveness because a mother’s love knows no boundaires, and not a single parent wouldn’t feel the same.
So to the parent out there who is overjoyed with the little humans they are raising, don’t be afraid to share your pride, happiness, and immense love. To the parent who takes it as an affront to your parenting, please don’t project. I think every decent and caring human wants all of our children to be happy. The pride I feel in my children doesn’t take a thing away from the pride you feel for your children. My delight shouldn’t lessen yours and vice versa. You may also not understand the fires we have walked through to get where we are and why pride runs so damn deep.
Let’s teach our children, let’s lead by example, that by giving others grace, we make the world a better place.
So go on parents…brag.
This parenting thing is hard for us all regardless of personal circumstances, and we all deserve a pat on the back.
You are doing it.
Keep on keeping on.
Photo Credit: Abby Glover http://www.abby.photos