Monday, October 5, 2015

The Lifelong Commitment

by Terri

You bring them into the world, nurture them and care for them and love them beyond all reason. You teach them to walk and talk. You potty train them and help them learn their ABCs.  You drive them to school, to dance class, to soccer practice and spend your weekends watching their recitals and games. You help them with their homework and help them choose their classes for high school. You lay awake at night waiting for them to come home. You comfort them through their “romance” break-ups and help them fill out their college applications. 

Yes, it’s one job after another but you do it all because you love them. It’s the best and most rewarding, if at times thankless, job you will ever have.  Then they leave home, whether it’s to college or out on their own, and at first you’re a little lost because that job you’ve been doing for 18+ years is over.  Or is it?  

The good thing is they don’t stop needing you just because they’ve grown up.  If you’ve done your job well, they are pretty self-sufficient at this point but they do still need you. But now their problems are bigger.  Job hunts and proposals, weddings and sometimes divorces. New home purchases and big moves. And they need you just as much as ever, to bounce things off of and give advice when they ask for it. And their hurts and disappointments are yours as well. You lay awake at night and worry about them the same way you did when they were small.  Only now the stakes are so much higher and their hurts can’t be cured with a band aid and a kiss. It’s not a lost soccer game or bad grade on a test. It’s real life stuff and you feel every pain as if it were your own. 

And it’s hard.   If you’re lucky enough to have them close and if you’re even luckier that they confide in you, you also know much more than you want to and it’s just plain hard sometimes.  But you can do it and you will do it because they still need you and you love them.

Parenting is a lifelong commitment.  It doesn’t change that much from diapers to adulthood and beyond. You are still committed to their happiness and well-being. It even means more to you than your own.  But through all of it, you feel lucky. Lucky that they were entrusted into your care all those years ago and for everything between then and now. Lucky that they still want your opinion and advice and still want to be with you and to confide in you. Lucky that they’ve grown into the wonderful people you dreamed they would, even if that means they have all the joys and heartbreaks that are now keeping you up at night. A parent’s job is never done, no matter how big they grow. Their every hurt is multiplied by 10 in your heart. That’s just the way it is.

I know a lot of you have young children and are in the “throes” of all that it takes to raise them.  I also know that a lot of you have gone and are going through what I am describing. I have decided that, as hard as it is, and as many sleepless nights as it causes, we wouldn’t have it any other way. 

This post is not about photography, but that’s not all we’re about here at Focusing on Life.  We “focus on life” as well and sometimes it’s pretty and sometimes it’s not.  But, what we strive for is to be real. So sometimes you’ll see us sharing fabulous vacations and amazing flower shots and sometimes, like now, you’ll hear us talking about the tougher parts of life.  The photos in this post are from this past weekend that I spent with my mom up in the mountains where she lives. I’m almost 70 and yet I still lay my worries at her feet and she still is there for me, listening and loving and offering advice when I need it. Yep, a mother’s job is never done. It's definitely a lifelong commitment -- made with love.



Dotti said...

Truer. Words. Were. Never. Spoken. Truth to tell, I think it gets harder to be a parent as our children get older. The problems are bigger and we can't fix them. We can only support ... and watch. It's hard to feel helpless to help, it's hard when we can't tell them what the best decision or course of action is, it's hard when the stakes are so high. But we soldier on because we're moms. Beautiful, heartfelt post, expressing many thoughts I've had in my heart as well.

kelly said...

man terri...i'd take a skinned knee over a broken heart any day of the week. you've expressed the joys and heartache of motherhood so perfectly. and it's comforting to know that no matter where we are in our motherhood journey, we have friends who understand. xoxo

Focusing on Life said...

And then all those worries, hardships, support, and concerns begin all over again with grandchildren as they grow and become adults with their life problems. But you are so right, it's hard but we do all of it because we love them with all of our hearts.

Debbie Malone said...

You could not have said this any better. I think you were looking through a window into my heart. Thank you for being so real my friend.

Cathy H. said...

Beautiful post and beautiful photos!

AFishGirl said...

So beautifully done, Terri. You've captured what so many of us experience.

Carol said...

This is beautifully written, Terri. It is very emotional and heartfelt -in all of our hearts

Viv@Thoughts from the Desktop said...

Wise words Terri thank you for sharing..

Roxi Hardegree said...

Great post Terri, You are so lucky to still have your mom around and be able to unload on her and have her know what you're talking about.

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