As parents we want to give our children everything. Everything. Not just fancy toys, new clothes or special trips. We want to give them the whole wide world. As parents we tear open our hearts and allow these little people to delve into the pools of our love without hesitation. And all the while we hope. We hope that the world might embrace them with the same passion and brutal acceptance that we have for them. We wish for their biggest dreams to come true. We watch as they proudly share their smallest of accomplishments and then wait to catch a glimpse of appreciation in our eyes.
We pray, whether we are religious or not, for this human that we would offer our life up for without a second thought, We pray for them to live a life of joy, love and without pain, We acknowledge that it is life’s struggles that make us who we are but, we know that seeing your child hurt and in pain is truly one of life’s worst tragedies.
Now imagine that the day comes when you realise that it was you that inflicted the very pain you sought to protect them from. It was you who hurt your child. Your beloved child with the eyes so big and full of innocent wonder and who knew you to be their entire universe. It was you who caused their agony. No, you did not damage them with your hands, but damage them you did with your harsh words and your selfishness. Imagine how it feels to suddenly understand that while you were busy protecting this precious soul from a world of anger and hatred, you infused them with your own. How it is to be confronted with the ugly truth, your parenting is a spin-off of your turbulent childhood existence. Talk about cruel reality.
This is the reality I sit in today and let me assure you that it is indeed every bit as uncomfortable as it sounds. However, as I start to make sense of things it seems that this epiphany might just be both the undoing and the making of me. I am learning that in this fleshy, exposed and broken state I have the ability to make a choice. I can continue to pummel myself with guilt every single time I look at my children for not being the mother that I felt they deserved or, I can gather up the shattered pieces of my motherhood, wrap them up in the very love I have for my children and learn to forgive myself.
The truth is that for every poor choice I made as their mother, I have made a thousand great ones. For every foul word I have ever used, I’ve spoken two thousand positive ones. For every moment I withheld my love, there were 10,000 moments in which I held them in my arms and showered them with it. For every time I became angry, there were 20,000 times that we laughed together. And for every fight we have ever had, there were 50,000 moments of bliss. Absolute bliss.
And, that right there is the truth and what I need to hold on to. Not the unrealistic expectations that I placed upon myself when these magnificent souls came into my realm. You know there has never been a single conversation between myself and my children in which they’ve asked me to be more. To be a better mum. To be perfect. To be anything other than present.
In this broken state I see that if I am able to wash away the years of guilt that have blackened my lenses and view myself through their unconditional eyes, I will open myself up to a whole new world. A world where blankets of acceptance await and patience is served like breakfast, a world in which happiness pours from the sky like raindrops and all my children ask is that I dance with them in it.
I am blessed because from this reality I can make a choice to embark on a new journey with my incredible children. I can tear out the pages of my old ways and write a new chapter for all of us. I can allow my children to take my hands and be my guides for a little while. When we acknowledge the truth we can create a pathway for forgiveness.
Author: Prem Sharma
Apprentic Editor: Vanessa Marjoribanks / Editor: Travis May