The Things We Tell Our Kids

The things we tell our kids over and over again over the years; things like “you should forgive” and “we all make mistakes.”
Don’t hold a grudge.
Be loving and kind.
We want our kids to have morals and values.
We want them to grow up being respectful and tolerant. We don’t want them to be hard and bitter.
We want them to learn how to navigate their way through life but not to fast and not to harshly. We want to spare them from the nasty stuff. The stuff that even we can barely handle as adults. The painful, tear filled drama and hurt that we know so well, please don’t make my babies deal with that… Not yet. Not any sooner than they will absolutely have to.
The thing is, it’s inevitable. They will feel pain and hurt and they will come face to face with situations that can completely alter their entire future. These things won’t always seem like such a big deal at the time. These things might seem silly or naive to them but to us, to us we know that the decision they make at that very moment is life changing.
All the years of watching them grow and instilling the values and morals we hope they will keep at heart, they all come and rest at that moment. That moment when all you can do is hope that they will choose correctly. Correctly for them. Not for you.
I watch my kids grow, I see the changes that each of them make daily, yearly, as they mature and make their way through each grade. Their attitudes and personalities changing. Their friends, choices in music, the way they dress and the way they speak. I see the way that they changed as we went through our divorce. I see the way they get a different look in their eyes when Fridays come and go and he doesn’t even send a text anymore. I see the way they talk to friends and then I hear the difference in their voices as they lay in bed with me at night and tell me all about it… I hurt more often than I smile lately when I think of all that they have dealt with. I hurt for them. I ache at the thought of two of them celebrating birthdays without him already this year. My heart hurts for them. They know they haven’t done anything wrong because that’s what I tell them, but in their heart, their soul, I’m not so sure they really, truly believe it. I have seen the anger and the betrayal change them each over the past few years. Each of them in a different way because it has been different with each of them. They each feel a very different level of pain and loss and even anger.
All the years of trying to shield them from so much pain and it ends up coming full force from my partner. The one that promised to help me protect them. There really are no words to describe the way that makes you feel as a parent. As a mom. I don’t have your average teen, pre-teen and little boy. I have kids that have dealt with and seen much more than they should have at their age.
In some ways this has actually been a blessing and that’s what I choose to focus on. The blessing has been that they are tough. They already know that the world can be a very mean and nasty place. A place full of heartache and disappointment. Sometimes those things come from the people that promised to be there for you and to protect you. I absolutely hate that they have had to toughen up so young. I hate it.
I also think that those lessons will help them to become much better parents and spouses though. I have no doubt that they will have the most loved children on earth. They will never let a day or probably even an hour go by that their children don’t hear them say I love you. They will let their kids fall but they will always be there to pick them up. They know that family is forever and that people make mistakes. They believe in forgiveness.
All of those things we tell our kids over and over again over the years. They hear us. They also see us. They watch us. Do we practice what we preach?
Because I can tell you without a sliver of doubt that I despise the people that have betrayed my children. The people that haven’t asked how school is, the ones that don’t send a text or a phone call and haven’t in a few years now. The people that promised them they would always be there and now they have better or more important things to think about daily…
I might smile to their face, because that is what I have taught my children to do, but I don’t like them at all.
I have taught my children that being the bigger person and initiating a conversation to help heal a situation is the way to go. I just watched one of them make that call this past week. A call that needed to be made and was very important for them. For them to heal. I don’t know that I could have done it myself. In a time when there was no farther down that they could go, they were on their knees, praying every day that things just got a little bit better – they lost something else. Something very important to them. No phone calls, no apologies. Nothing. But a year later, they made the call. I am pretty sure I wouldn’t have. Not at that age and not with as much sadness and betrayal all around me.
I admire my kids. All three of them. They have been served large doses of Hell on a silver platter and have been expected to take it with a smile. They were dropped deep inside a dark hole and have been expected to climb out. They’re climbing too. All of them. Climbing and clawing and digging their way up. They’ll be just fine. They’ll be better than fine. They have learned lessons as kids that I just learned at 33. They know the people they can count on and trust and the people that truly love them. They don’t need me to comment or post on Facebook.
Actions speak louder than words, even to a nine year old.
Kids have hearts of gold. They’re full of so much love and they are really the most resilient little things ever, but even kids can only take so much. As a parent, one of, if not the hardest thing to do is to watch someone hurt your child and then watch your child run right back to them. Not knowing if they’ll make it through this time or if they will get burned again. Having the courage and the strength to let them… That last one, that will be tested really soon. I am going to need every ounce of self-control and strength I can muster up soon. I am praying the good Lord holds my tongue and keeps a smile plastered on my face. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.
The things we tell our kids over and over again over the years; things like “you should forgive” and “we all make mistakes.”
Don’t hold a grudge.
Be loving and kind…

Those things are a lot easier to instill in your children, to make sure they hear on a regular basis than it is to actually practice yourself. Especially when the ones you are forgiving and not holding a grudge against are the ones that caused your babies so much pain.



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