Sunday, March 18, 2012

Going Emo

© Rocky Reston |

As my kids would say, I hate to go “all emo” on you, but remember when your child was a little baby and had an ear infection? Remember…gasp… the circumcision? (If you went that controversial route.) Remember…when there was that horrible croup, or colic, or inexplicable baby constipation? The angst of it all...the pain.
            Of course, you don’t want to remember these things! (Anyway, if you have babies you’re living them now!) You know that line from the bible…"suffer the little children"? Well, I got to thinking about that the other night when I was suffering over one of the trials/learning lessons of one of my older kids. Why must we parents suffer so much every time our child suffers? Suffer the little children: not. Suffer the big adults…the parents. Yes, I know this is not what the bible is talking about. But nevertheless…
            Why do we have to suffer so much for our kids? Why do we have to be absolutely crushed when our kid doesn’t make the swim team? Or get into Princeton? Or make National Honor Society? Or needs an operation? Or has to have blood drawn? Or gets punched on the playground? Or gets dissed by a girl? Or a boy? Or flunks chemistry, or doesn’t get into the Pre-School of Our Dreams?  Or, or, or…well, the list is endless, and as parents, there is just so much suffering. Does there have to be?
            My yogi heart/brain tells me “no!” We are not our children. We are separate beings, and they are learning the lessons they need to learn. We can’t “fix” everything for them. We can’t heal every pain. We can’t dry every tear. In short, we can’t live their lives.
            I guess there you have it. Our parents didn’t live our lives for us either, and we’re still here. We survived the cuts, bruises, sprains and gashes (emotionally and physically) of living. We survived the failures, the insults, the disappointments, and we’re still here. And so will our children be no matter how convinced we are that we must suffer their pain.
            It’s hard to remember when your child is ill, or sad, or rejected, that most likely he will survive just as you did (yes, of course, there are exceptions, and I certainly can’t explain why or heal those wounds). But, we don’t have to take on every hurt as if it is our own. We need to be strong, confident, positive and uplifting. That’s what parents are for. Worry, fear, negativity, oh yes, parents are experts in these fields. Yet, from experience I know that it’s the polar opposite—hope, love, trust, and positivity-- that is the answer, no matter what.
            And so I won’t go “all emo.” This time, anyway. Oops...maybe I just did!


  1. The womb remembers. When my children were younger, if I saw them about to get hurt, by a fall or bike crash or body blow from rough and tumbling, I'd feel a deep, immediate, strong flinch in the core of my body, as if a physical part of me were about to be hurt. Now that they are older (20-25)and their wounding experiences are less physical and more of the heart, I still ache for their sadnesses, but as we have all evolved, perspective, distance and maturity have allowed me a sense of separation which is healthier for all of us. Ultimately, there is no "have to" about feeling our children's pain. It is part and parcel of being a parent.

  2. Thank you, Linda. So very beautifully said.