The flipside of parenthoodJune 2, 2009
I am back from my brother’s wedding. I am at work but I am so tired. I just want to crawl under my desk and sleep. I won’t mince words: The wedding was horrible. Not to get into too many details, but some pretty shocking things were revealed in front of friends and family members alike. Where lies the rub? My brother knew and thought it best not to warn us in advance. He’s on his honeymoon and has no idea how devastated my parents are.
I held my mom while she wept last night and images of our childhood flashed before my eyes. I remember her buying matching outfits for him and my younger brothers. Late night vigils. When he had asthma attacks as a child, I will never forget the look of sheer terror in her eyes. So much love and yet in the end he did what he wanted without even an iota of consideration. I am not saying a child owes his parents his own happiness or the right to choose his own path.
This is what I am saying: At the wedding I saw my sister-in-law, with her one year old son. He played with me and then searched the room for his mother. He saw and her and began crying. She held him, she rocked him to sleep. I saw them throughout the weekend. I saw her changing his diapers, wiping his nose. She is so large in his life. I see my brother, and I see the future when a parent becomes quite small.
I can’t help but reflect as I struggle to become a parent…. damn. You work that hard, you raise them, you go into debt sending them to school and clothing them, and in the end you let them go and if they choose to hurt you, you must grin and bear it.
Even in their pain they continue to worry about Adam. They don’t want to yell too much at him when he comes back. They see that his marriage will have boulders along the way and they fear if they show anger, he will distance himself and not come to them when he needs it most. To be a parent is to know sacrifice. To be a parent is to know the cruelest edge of the sword called love. I see my parents and I know this now.