We all have expectations of our children.
Many people have children that they hope will help them farm or carry on a family business. Maybe be the first one to go to college or to follow in their footsteps to their Alma-mater. We hope they will give us grandchildren. Take care of us in old age.
I had MY kids because I was determined to grow a people that understood and loved me. The “I Hate Katie Club” from 3rd grade still chanted in the back of my head. My relationship with my mother and been very strained. I set out to prove if you treated children with love and respect they’d love you. A “We Love KT Club”.
I got the love I expected but I failed to account for the fact that if you do your job right, your children grow up and go away. The new “We Love KT Club” wasn’t going to be living with me forever.
I also realized that even though MY needs for love were met, I’d put five individuals on their own path to find love and fulfillment in a sometimes cold, scary world and they’d have to do it on their own.
My good friend in elementary school had a developmentally challenged sister. She was older than we were but still wore diapers. The effort her mother had to go through changing her made a real impression on me.
I began to think, if I had a special needs child I’d be SO grateful if they could wipe their bottom and feed themselves.Those two tiny things would make my work as a mother so much easier.
So, I began to have the attitude that my job really was to prepare my children to feed themselves and clean up after themselves. If they could do that EVERYTHING else was a bonus.
The metaphor worked because in the big picture all their growth was towards these goals. If they got an education or developed and extraordinary talent it meant they would be feeding themselves better and perhaps could pay others to clean up after them!
But those were the basic responsibilities we had as citizens. Feed yourself and don’t make a mess.
So, the next time you find yourself asking more and more from your children, reflect on what they have ALREADY accomplished.
Count your blessings if they walk, talk, smile. Don’t wait until your child has received the good grades before you love them for all they are NOW.
Appreciate your children the way a special needs mother does. Appreciate that you aren’t changing diapers. That they CAN carry their plates to the sink.
As my children grew, there have been times when I thought,”Whoa I’ve taken this too far and I haven’t expected enough.”
But It’s not their job to be here to please me. I forced them into this world, it’s MY job to give them every help and encouragement I can to find their way.
Do I still feel blessed to have my Mars Rovers out there reporting back to me what they have learned and observed? Yes, but that’s a bonus not a right.
My children are everything I could hope for and expect.
Loving, compassionate, curious souls that delight me everyday.
And they are clean and fed. 🙂