Saturday, April 3, 2010

Pain of Parenting

Because my children are, by far, my greatest source of fulfillment, they in turn can leave me emotionally drained. My children now live in the angst of transition, no longer kids, not quite autonomous adults. I am deeply invested in their next choices, and so feel stymied by their naiveté, and frustrated by their frustrations. The irony does not escape me. It is not difficult for me to empathize, to remember my variation of adolescent trauma, passion, and anguish. And so I feel their pain, compounded by a parent's concern.

I am brutally not naive. In fact, I am tiredly predictable in their eyes. I swing between wanting to take to wing for myself, leaving them on the branch leaning forward toward their own flight lesson or concocting some impractical tandem, tied to them as they jump. I do not have the resources to have us all in flight at the same time, as I have no financial net to catch missteps and aerobatic miscalculations. Somehow we all three need to be separate stars in flight simultaneously... the choreographic nightmare that haunts me today.

If we fall, we will fall hard. Street wisdom states 'them is the breaks' an inevitability in our 'school of hard knocks'... Yet as a single parent, I am both psychologically, nurturing mother and pragmatically pestering father. How does one play 'Good and Bad cop' simultaneously? "Nudge them out of the nest with one big push" comes one order from the left brain, "But are they ready?" squeals the right... "But how else will they know" recants Dad-side, "Can we afford to take that chance" Mom-me meekly counters. And so the sleepless night, of one head with two voices, languishing long and unresolved.

Apparently we all need to be brave, witness the limitations, and relish the challenge. A bit too flowery for someone who approaches sixty with such sweaty trepidation.