Do you ever feel like being a parent is the hardest job in the world? I am not just talking about the sleepless nights, cleaning up all types of bodily fluids or the many late night projects. It is the fact that you are raising a human that you want with all of your heart and soul to one day go out into this world and do amazing things. My son (and oldest child) turns 18 this week! Where has the time gone? I can remember so clearly being in the operating room telling the anesthesiologist that “I changed my mind” and then seeing my son in the nursery and being too scared to even touch him. Don’t worry, by the next day I was perfectly comfortable and my mom instincts kicked right in. He was just so small and was having trouble breathing and I didn’t want to hurt him. But he was so cute and so perfect and once I held him I didn’t want to put him down.
Over the years there have been struggles and I often wonder how my decisions and parenting will impact my kids long-term. I have spent so many sleepless nights thinking about this! I want to believe that I’ve instilled the values in my kids that they will live by. By no means do I think they are perfect, but I do really hope and pray that the values I have taught them and exhibited will mean that they are and will continue to be good human beings. I look around the world and I see so much hate and anger and it truly breaks my heart. And then, recently two instances “near” me really have me thinking how parents impacted these decisions and whether they could have changed things if they had done parenting differently.
First, an ex high school boyfriend passed away apparently from a drug overdose. His parents were model parents, big-hearted people and couldn’t have loved their boys more. The parents' lives were always all about their boys. My heart breaks for them and I don’t think their parenting sent him down this path. Sometimes good people make mistakes and I don’t think anyone tries drugs thinking they will end up with an addiction. So, in my mind this wasn’t something the parents could have changed.
The second incident was when two teenage girls near my house in DC decided to steal an Uber driver’s car. Unfortunately a video of the actual incident is all over the internet and the entire event is shown. He was partially in/out of the car arguing with the girls that it was his car. They somehow were able to push the accelerator and wrecked throwing him onto the sidewalk, killing him. As the girls climbed from the wrecked car, they are heard saying their phone is still in the car without seeming to even care that he was lying on the sidewalk because of their actions. This is a case where I have to think their values were clearly lacking based on those decisions and lack of any empathy for this man. I feel so much empathy for this man, every time I think of it I tear up.
So, back to my original thought - how much do we impact our kids and their choices. I see a difference between being able to hurt others and making poor choices. No one always makes good decisions and I am included. But, I couldn’t hurt someone else. No one will be perfect but this mama hopes I have instilled values in my kids and I will trust that they will be equipped to make the best choices. I guess it is our job to love them unconditionally, realizing we’ve given them the tools and pray they use them! This parenting thing is the hardest job ever and many of us never thought past having a baby - and the fact that we would have a child/adult for the rest of our lives that we are responsible for sending into the world! My final thought - dogs are so much easier!