When I write my posts I usually start with the title but in this case I don’t have a clear tag line to head up my words.
Also, as this is a holiday weekend, and I don’t mean bunnies and baskets of candy but a weekend that for the vast majority in our society is a religious observance of great magnitude, one might expect some sort of thankfulness contained within my title.
As I am non-religious, and don’t believe that what I am about to discuss has anything to do with a divine grace or power, saying thanks doesn’t seem appropriate either.
I had an epiphany of sorts yesterday. Back story first though.
You have undoubtedly read my posts regarding new homes, new jobs and new relationships for my children. This epiphany concerns the oldest two. Not to leave the youngest out of the picture as I am consistently amazed by her, but in this regard her life and situation at this moment isn’t applicable to the epiphany in the way it came about.
I don’t know about all of you parents, but somewhere in my head I always held onto the notion that if my children were happy in their lives, found people that they chose to share those lives with who also brought happiness, who found a measure of fun and enjoyment and yes, even success, in their careers, that somehow I had done my job.
My epiphany allowed me to realize that all those notions are pretty darn self-serving. Yes, I gave birth to these individuals and I socialized them to be acceptable human beings according to our societies standards. None of them, that I know of, have been deemed deviant or a menace to society. They are and have been well-informed and contributing members of our planet. They have probably taught me more along the way about so many things than I ever taught them. While I would love to take credit I can’t. And so when I received exciting, no- amazing news, about the two oldest over these last few days my little inner voice was chanting:
Look what your kids have accomplished. Look at how they turned out. Look at the wonderful man and woman you raised.
Much like a smack in the head, although I could have easily used the light bulb analogy as well, my epiphany came when the facts struck me full on -BAM- square in the face. In the midst of congratulating my son in particular yesterday I was hit with the knowledge that he and his sister, while of my flesh, are two of the most autonomous, capable, intelligent and deserving individuals that I know. Their recent successes have nothing to do with me. I didn’t work alongside them earning part of their wages, or making them invaluable employees. I have nothing to do with the fact that they take the time and initiative to expand their knowledge, to be informed, to be self-taught, to have voices and use them in ways that not only help others but showcase modestly their talents, opinions and beliefs. I have had no part in the decisions they have made in choosing partners, both of which are regarded quite highly themselves in this picture.
All of those self-serving statements my little voice was making are rubbish. I birthed them, but I did not make them who they are. They deserve every ounce of credit. They have found success and happiness by their own hand, their own determination.
It was momentarily humbling to realize that I had this whole parenting thing all wrong for so many years. Then it was even more joyful to realize that the lives that I hoped they would have seem to be coming into focus. The struggles they have faced as adults are now slipping away. The real success is that they did all this themselves. I was an observer, not always silent on the sidelines, but an observer non-the-less. This man and this woman are my children, but they are so much more. They are individuals, wholly of their own making. I couldn’t be prouder or happier that I had nothing to do with how they turned out.
And now I have a title for my post.