It comes it every parent/child relationship – when the worm turns. Those big, bright eyes that once looked at you with adoring love begin to roll upwards, and the slight clucking of the tongue can be heard, and if you really, really focus you might even hear them thinking:
“Oh God, do I really have to keep listening to the droning sound of their relentless bullshit? Will it ever stop? Don’t they know I couldn’t give a fat fig what their big gaping maws have to say? Isn’t it OBVIOUS, I know every freaking thing there is to know about every freaking thing? I don’t need them. Morons. Nosy, busybody jerks. (pause, listen) OH MY GOD THEY ARE STILL TALKING TO ME. Jesus, Mary, Joseph would an anvil please fall from the sky and make the noise stop.”
“Are you listening to me?” you ask this post-pubescent jumble of hormones and attitude.
Their mouths say, “Yes,” but the blank, vacant stare belies the wildly scattering thoughts oscillating between breaking free of your deathlike grip on their lives, and their clear obvious dependence on you for everything material, but so little desire for the ethereal and intangible offerings you long to provide.
Why won’t they listen to me? you ask yourself. Am I that old and out of touch, so entirely uncool and devoid of reasonable advice and emotional support? I once wiped your butt, provided you all the sustenance that you needed to survive and in a mother’s case, carried you in my womb, endured the pain of birth and the humility and ravaging of my beauty – all of which, I willingly forfeited just for your benefit, and for what? So you can decide to make poor decisions and ignore my saged advice.
It’s demoralizing to me to know that this child that I hold to my bosom and love with all the capacity the good Lord gave me to love another will someday grow to resent me for all the reasons that they depend on me now: my desire to protect them from the cruel realities of life.
And it’s not just the growing-up part that fatigues and wears me down, for that is inevitable. What is so entirely unjust about it all is the attitude, the inherent belief that they are owed everything, from car keys, money, slack, time, attention, sleep, trust – hell anything they can get their hands on. On top of which they want the latitude to treat you like crap and tell you to butt out of their very lives – lives mind you, that they wouldn’t have were it not for your good graces.
Maybe this is how God feels about humans? Has he also had this conversation with himself?
“I give these humans life, a nice place to live, air, food, water, the sun, the moon, the friggen stars, MY ONLY BEGOTTEN SON TO DIE FOR THEIR SINS and in return what do I get? They murder one another, fight, squabble, covet thy neighbors, steal, take thy name in vain, pollute their home, ignore and shun my divine love and goodness. What justice is there? These lumps of flesh were given the Garden and Eden and they just threw it away. It makes a God want to throw his hands in the air and flood the place. Oy Vey, go on, take your freewill, don’t ever call just say thanks God. Noooo, heaven forbid you take a minute to pray or see how your maker is doing. Ungrateful creations!!!”
Yes, I imagine it’s just like that.
The only silver lining to then inexorable future, is the memories I will have etched in my mind of little hands that I once held at will, soft cheeks I brushed in the night, sweet kisses and hugs given freely, a genuine smile of joy at my sight, a cry that only I could quell, a heart that quickened and excited at the sound of my voice, being the alpha and the omega to that one soul who needed only me to be happy.
Is this why we suffer the hurt and anguish of parenting, for the all too brief, but oh so sweet, one true and unselfish love? A moment in time of blissful joy, that will all too soon be ended with a sharp, cruel, twisting of emotional anguish and pain as our hearts are ripped from us with the utterance of, “Mom, don’t kiss me in front of my friends. You are embarrassing me.”
Is this what my mom meant when she hoped that I would grow up to have children just like me?
I have been told that I am seeing the dark side and that I must choose to have a better outlook on the whole nightmare. I wish I could, but the truth is, I know what happens when you become a teenager, it happened to me once. A long, long, long time ago, and I really did think my parents were stupid, nosy, interfering buttplugs. All I wanted was their money, their car keys, my space, them to go away and leave me alone. It’s all TRUE.
Even now, I sometimes feel that way about my parents. But … sometimes, during these very rare and infrequent, yet desperate times I cry into my pillow and a tiny little voice stirs from deep within, a whimper that I can just barely make that says, “I want my mommy.”
Sadly, my mommy is far away and as my warm tears soak my pillow I know that I must take a deep breath, suck it all up, dust myself off, ever so gently tap on that bedroom door and sheepishly ask my five year old for a hug, and even, GULP, say I am sorry.
Hey, isn’t that why God made rainbows?