Friday, August 23, 2013

How many heartaches?

How many heartaches in their life, I wonder?
Feed and educate them, I can; clean their clothes, encourage them, teach and pamper, I can.
Protect, I can only a little. And as they grow older, spread their wings and fly away, it will only get more difficult, let alone impossible.
And I wonder, how many heartaches? How many falls, blows and injuries, tears and disappointments?
I can do so much in their young lives, and yet, I cannot stop them from being hurt by the insensitive, the manipulative, the gross and the selfish.
It took me ages, as a truly candid and confident individual, ages to realize how some people think and behave along particular lines of interest. How some people can act in the name of love or friendship in order to achieve their goals. How some people can therefore use the good in you and then ditch you, how insensitive and opportunist some of them can be.
I have had a few friends who turned out to be interested in me only for the help or connection or support I could give them. For a long time I gave unconditional affection and faith to people who didn't deserve that. Only to feel the pain of being left alone, only to feel the nastiness generated by jealousy or greed or selfishness. Was I innocent? I slowly recovered from heartless friends and made fewer but better connections. I chose not to close my heart, but surely I became more cautious and less spontaneously trusting.
Now, I've had the opportunity to see the friendly connections my kids make, and how, in their turn, they so genuinely and spontaneously love their friends. And how the love and affection we give sends us over the moon and makes us fragile at the same time.
And I watch...and see the cuteness, the innocence, the beauty. Alas from the grown-ups who try to control their kids' lives, I also see manipulation and opportunism, competition and jealousy. In older kids I sometimes see the seeds of rivalry and aggressiveness.
And I am left with the helpless knowledge that my beautiful children will also come across those heartaches.
Not only any mother, but any woman with motherly feelings will know how it feels. The fear and the anger beginning to groan and moan deep inside, when our sweet beloved little one is faced with darkness. When we see them starting to doubt, hoping in vain, being disappointed, or sometimes worse, being hit or insulted or harassed. Or when we see them ignorant of the manipulation or arrogance around them.
A mother's life is made of these fears too. I want to use my past experiences, good and bad, to become a better person. All those heartaches in a lifetime must mean something. Maybe simply the assurance that worthless people make good people even better. That building a beautiful life for my family and me, means loving every minute of it and acknowledging every minute of it. Including the ones that hurt. Because if you survive them while keeping a good heart, you'll only get stronger and wiser and happier. You'll be a free individual. Because you've got to accept the bad as well as the good, and draw your own conclusions and walk your own path.


  1. Oh, I think thoughts along these lines unbelievably often. Truly. The funny thing is, I truly believe we came here to not only have goodness and beauty, but to experience opposition and pain and struggling. Still, ohhhh my precious children. How hard it is not to want to spare them -- to say, "Fine, maybe they can experience a few disappointments; but no depression. NO betrayal. No truly debilitating physical problems. Etc. Etc." Still, I find comfort in knowing and hoping that we will hold fast together and see each other through. That we will grow and bear these things.

    Also, your post reminded me so much of a really great quote my cousin forwarded me the other day. She has only one brother. Neither of them have families of their own yet, and they have already lost both of their parents to cancer. Here was the quote she sent me. I really love it.

    ". . .the idea that everything we do is part of the pursuit of happiness seems to me a really dangerous idea and has led to a contemporary disease in Western society, which is fear of sadness. It’s a really odd thing that we’re now seeing people saying 'write down 3 things that made you happy today before you go to sleep', and 'cheer up' and 'happiness is our birthright' and so on. We’re kind of teaching our kids that happiness is the default position - it’s rubbish. Wholeness is what we ought to be striving for and part of that is sadness, disappointment, frustration, failure; all of those things which make us who we are. Happiness and victory and fulfillment are nice little things that also happen to us, but they don’t teach us much. Everyone says we grow through pain and then as soon as they experience pain they say 'Quick! Move on! Cheer up!' I’d like just for a year to have a moratorium on the word 'happiness' and to replace it with the word 'wholeness'. Ask yourself 'is this contributing to my wholeness?' and if you’re having a bad day, it is."

    - Hugh Mackay

    I am actually all for searching out things that make us happy -- writing them down, etc. so we focus on the good; but I also LOVE the idea of realizing that all we experience can contribute to our whole and that it is OK if parts are sorrowful and hard.

  2. Oh I love your comment, Nancy! I agree with what you write and the quotation sent by your cousin is soooo right! But I must admit, to be honest I apply all of this more easily to me, now that I'm getting a little wiser. I find it way harder to apply this to my kids. Like you, what springs first to my mind is 'ooh my precious children'. And I'm ready to do a lot, to say the least, to spare them much of the darkness that surrounds them! Still, they, too, are human beings, individuals who will grow and improve and challenge themselves out of hardship of various sorts. This notion of wholeness is much closer to reality and life, and our precious children will evolve and bloom out of the good and bad events of life. The beauty of it, too, is that we can go through so much when we stand together, as family, as friends, as humans, right?