We love our babies, these innocent, precious little creatures. Unconditionally. Absolutely. We may be under the illusion that if we fill these little vessels of life with love, nurturing, lessons, laughter (and oh, so many tears), that they will, of course, love us unconditionally.
In truth, what I've discovered is that my children do love me unconditionally. But it is not without judgement or criticism. Thankfully, my shortcomings are usually pointed out with gentleness and love. As a young mother, it didn't occur to me that my children might not hold me in reverence, placed firmly upon a pedestal before them forever. Okay, just kidding.
No, these precocious rascals actually have minds of their own, with ideas of their own design! I hadn't counted on that. They are smart, creative, thoughtful, well meaning, loving, hilarious human beings. To claim that I'm the reason for these finer qualities would be arrogant and foolish. But, I will claim whatever applause I can for having some impact on these marvelous characters.
I loved them unconditionally, did my best to make them feel that I was always looking out for them and tried to show respect for their decisions. I tried to guide them without demeaning or humiliating them, without demanding. Was I a hundred percent successful in those valiant attempts? No, but I tried to maintain that quality at the core of my parenting. Hopefully, as a result, they realize a bit more self confidence, are less judgmental of others, are more likely to embrace love when it presents, are willing to try new things...to seek out life on their own terms.
Hopefully, my kids will always hold onto me with trust and feel secure with me. Knowing that whatever choices they make, whatever paths they follow, whatever fears they face, whatever falls they take, they always have a safe place to land for a moment, with arms to embrace them and an ear to listen to their story.
They know that they are in charge of their lives and their direction. It's rarely an easy journey. The choices are many, the temptations, too. The reward or relief sometimes seems so far in the distance that no light is seen at the end of the proverbial tunnel. But they are always loved, always welcome, always appreciated and always safe with me. I hope that they remember..the light really does begin to shine along a difficult, well--traveled journey.