They’ll Know, Right?

Throwing Apples, As You Do

I’ve been thinking a lot about parenting.

I’ve been thinking a lot about raising the two children under my own roof to adulthood and what all that means. The steps to take, the words to choose, the lessons to impart. And while I’ve managed to get them to nearly seven- and nine-years-old relatively unscathed, I’m looking forward at the long journey still ahead of us and thinking, “This is too much. This is too hard. I’m going to screw this up.”

Maybe it’s because I arrive at the boys’ elementary school in the afternoon, park my car, and watch the middle school kids trickle down the hill. They’re awesome and awkward all in the same breath. I see myself in some of the girls, their long hair obstructing their view and their back-in-style knock-off Doc Martens clomping down the sidewalk. I smile and think of how awful middle school was; how I survived despite being myself.

But it’s the boys that catch me most off guard. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, puberty doing what puberty does—wreaking havoc, causing confusion and delay. I try to guess their ages, guess anything about them: what they like to do, who they might be, how they treat others. I see them interact with one another, talking with their hands and waving goodbye as they separate at the bottom of the hill. I see them talking on their phones and wonder who in their life is so important that it warrants a call before three o’clock in the afternoon; I silently hope it’s their moms.

I look at them and can’t quite fathom BigBrother being one of these kids in three years, of LittleBrother following two years behind.

All of my friends with tweens and teens parent girls, not boys. I don’t quite know what to expect or whether BigBrother will eventually stop talking (though this is very, very hard to imagine) or if I will become Enemy Number One like some mothers and daughters. Do I get to remain their favorite for awhile? Will they become sullen and silent, like we’re told boys become, or will they remain themselves as I know them now, chatty and full of exuberance for all things, everyday? Will they hate spending time with me, with us? Will they hole up in their rooms? Will they get mouthy and full of attitude like I did, or will they just shrug and walk away?

Those currently unanswerable questions aside, I just don’t understand how I’m supposed to teach them everything they’re supposed to learn, how I’m in charge of this Very Big Job. I don’t feel qualified. In fact, most days when I’m trying to manage the load of life in general, I feel vastly underqualified for the job of raising capable adults. When I get frustrated and raise my voice, when my ears get tired from the constant talking, when I can’t think of one more answer to one more question, when I just want five minutes to myself.

I worry a lot about the mistakes, those moments when I don’t say what I need to say or say something completely wrong or, maybe worse, don’t say anything at all. Will that be the moment that they remember? Will that be the moment that outshines all others? Will they forget the good things in place of all of my many faults? Will they know, without a doubt, that they are not only loved but liked? Will they know that I don’t just love them because I’m required to love them as their parent, that I really, truly like them for who they are? Will they know it’s okay to make mistakes and tell us about them?

Why yes, my anxious brain is doing a lot of over-thinking on this subject! How did you know?

I logically know this line of thinking isn’t productive, it doesn’t solve problems or answer questions. Logic and anxiety and wanting the best for your kids don’t always go together, don’t always play by the rules. I’m just overcome as of late with the weight of it all. More than fearing a random virus or accident or anything else, I fear that they won’t know how much I love them, how I’d move mountains every single day to ensure they knew my love. I’m afraid I’m already mucking it up.

I hope they know now, that they know later. They know, right? They’ll remember, right? Of course. Sure. Right.


8 replies on “They’ll Know, Right?”

Mine is 10. he still talks to me when he is winding down for the evening. not a minute before. He likes his snuggles again when winding down for the evening not a minute before.

Here is a quick story about my big/but still needs mom. I had health crisis a couple weeks back that had me in the hospital. The 1st night he got there he took off his shoes (thank goodness not the socks) and crawled into the hospital bed. He refused to leave until visiting hrs were over.

The rhythm will change but you will find it quickly. you adept and embrace it. it is the way we always do with boys

You are not mucking it up. They know they are loved but they don’t yet understand how they are loved. They are so loved they don’t need to think about how to understand it — it just is. It’s so there they can take it for granted. Someday they will think about it and understand it and know they were loved the way we can only know as adults.

They’ll know. Those children of yours? Those dear boys you and your awesome hubby have poured everything of yourselves into? Of course they’ll know. And what’s more, when you really need to, you’ll know too. These freakouts, they’re so normal; they’re what keep you honest and on the right track. If you didn’t worry, well who knows what would happen – I haven’t learned that trick yet. But: Yes. They’ll know. With all of their hearts.

I have a 19 year old girl and a nearly 14 year old boy, and you know, it’s only got better – the talking and the love. I was/am a chaotic-full time working away from home-frequently impatient-often mentally absent even in the hours of the day when I’m physically present mother but I’ve always talked to them and they still, for now, talk to me (I don’t take it for granted for a minute). You’ve done it a lot more intentionally than me, more thoroughly I think from what I read. It will pay off. You and they will be fine, I’m sure of it.

My anxious brain goes over many of these things about raising kids and I don’t even have kids. My sister does (one girl, one boy. We’ve never had boys in our family), my friends have kids (mostly girls, now a little boy for one). I often wonder about the change from child, to tween, to teen, and I have a mini-anxiety attack. It looks scary and BIG. And it’s one of the reasons I never wanted to have kids of my own because the thought of having to be there through all of that and not make a huge mess out of it for them was just too overwhelmingly scary.

I don’t really know you well, what I do know through Monkey, and from having followed you online for a year, is that you seem to be doing things wonderfully. With a smile and with a whole bucketload of LOVE. There is love in every photo, every post, every status update. I can feel it from here, up in Canadaland and through my laptop. Kids evolve and change, but from my own experiences of having BEEN a kid and having kid-friends, when the parents raise you with love and smiles and respect, you tend to turn out pretty ok and share that love back.

Jenna, oh my goodness. Yes. Just yes. I get so frustrated and angry with Ava. I know it’s taking its toll on her. She’s so impressionable. I feel like I’m ruining our relationship bit by bit, but then she always comes back to love on me and I just don’t do it right. I still feel frayed from when Allie was born and the disconnect happened when the PPD started.

Just last night Allie (3 YEARS OLD) was crying because she wasn’t going to bed. She said “mommy is disappointed in me.” I wanted to cry. I’m not quite sure where she got it from. I pray not from school, and I hope not from me but probably. But my God did it break my heart. She probably did.

All it feels like is one suck after another. One apology after another.

And yet they love us again and again. Just like we love them. They know.

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