Friday, May 27, 2005

Real pain

I was thinking today about the pains of parenting. I know I can never experience the joy/pain of childbirth (and don't want too .. Do I look crazy ? OK .. Don't answer that.) There are pains in all relationships that are common, yet hurting. They are still not near the apex of this real pain. There is the pain you feel that accompanies the helplessness of watching your child in sickness or pain and knowing that your best efforts are not going to change or ease that sickness. It is the pain of 'waiting it out'. There are the pains you feel as you watch the face of your child and listen to the hurt in their voice as they describe in sobbing details how someone else has hurt them (physically or emotionally.) While those are difficult and never the least bit enviable, they are still not up there with the hardest pain. The real pain of parenting is not letting them go. That is difficult enough, but it doesn't reach the pinnacle of parenting pain.

As a kid I was convinced that one of the dumbest things my parents ever said to me was in the middle of correcting and punishing me. They would express in these words or words quite similar, "This is hurting me as much (or more) than it is hurting you."

Can we say, "BS?"

Yeah, if this is hurting you as much as it is hurting me, why are you able to sit down ?

As a parent now, I fully understand those words.

Nothing hurts as much as when you are correcting or punishing a child for some wrongdoing (as is a parents responsibly .. According to the manual) and they respond with one of hundreds of hurtful expressions, such as: You don't really love me; I hate you; How can you do this if you really care like you say; and one of my personal faves, I never want to see you again.

Here you are, fulfilling your role as the patriarch or matriarch of the family. You have seriously considered the crime and the suitable punishment. You are in the process of administering said recompense, when all that vile and anger gushes out of this, your loving child. It tears pieces from your heart and stomps them there on the ground. Somehow, while bleeding profusely from wounds inflicted by someone for whom you would die, you have to maintain your composure, and be the true parent. You have to be fair, yet unwavering. You have to be stern, but loving. You have to be the molder, even when the clay refuses to be molded.

That is the real pain of being a parent.

Somedays, it just isn't worth chewing through the leather straps.

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