…going back to work… and remembering birthdays.
…protecting them from people with hidden agendas….
…having a 28-year old and a 7-year old.
…letting them be themselves.
…living far away from them.
…raising them to be like Christ and not like me.
…restricting their freedom.
…letting them go.
..having to let them go.
…every other job, you have time off, but once you have kids there will never be a time you don’t have kids… and though you sometimes wish for a break you also know that that break is the last thing in the world you actually want… once you have them and then don’t have them, you “don’t have” them forever….
…being forced to grow up myself.
…dealing with the spouse who helped you have them.
…being their teacher.
…explaining to your friends why they’re serving all the cocktails at the party.
…not having them with you.
…worry. Worry. Worry!!!!!!!!
…the thought of death.
…when they cry.
…the way their mouth flips upside down into a frown… and the way their lips quiver right before the howling starts. The hardest part is the howling. And avoiding the howling and learning to hear the howling.
…never knowing what can happen. Always knowing anything is possible. The fear is the hardest thing… it never goes away. Ever.
…when they’re sick. For any length of time, to any extent.
…accepting who they become.
…letting go of your dreams for them when you realize they’re not your children’s dreams. Realizing that in the first place.
…never being sure just how badly you’ve screwed up.
…learning to see where you end and where they begin.
With thanks to those who participated, here are some related books from our shelves that we can’t say enough good things about:
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, by Ina May Gaskin
NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children, by Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman
The Case Against Homework, by Sara Bennett and Nancy Kalish
Where We Going, Daddy?: Life with Two Sons Unlike Any Others, by Jean-Louis Fournier
Raising Blaze: Bringing Up an Extraordinary Son in an Ordinary World, by Debra Ginsberg
Rad Dad: dispatches from the frontiers of fatherhood, edited by Tomas Moniz and Jeremy Adam Smith
Aida and BJ highly, highly recommend:
There are not many people in the world who emerge, or rather, periodically peek out, from the profoundest, deepest, most unimaginable and indescribable grief long enough and lucidly enough to convey something of truth and, therefore, of value to the rest of us. Didion is one of them. This book is her most recent missive.