Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Second-Hand Hurt

EE Cummings - i carry your heart
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)

i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Here’s something for the list of stuff they don’t tell you before you become a parent. There are probably thousands of things on that list, like how little sleep you’ll get, how often you’ll encounter vomit and how low your own self-esteem may get thanks to your children. Most of the time, experienced parents don’t tell you these things because it might scare you away. This might not scare you away, but it might surprise you.

Here it is: You will hurt more for your kids than you will for yourself. If you’ve ever been disappointed, been dumped, felt unattractive or been depressed, multiply that ten-fold when you watch your kids go through those emotions. And add a dash of helplessness to really make it difficult.

Maybe I’m naïve, but this I never expected. Now that my kids are teens, I encounter this on a weekly basis. Broken hearts, college rejections, hurt feelings, not being asked to the dance, low self-confidence…sometimes I feel like E.T. with a glowing heart when they go through these things and all I can say is “Ow!”

I realize that I weathered all of these same storms and made it through as a better and more well-rounded and perhaps empathetic person, but my first instinct is to throw my kids a Pity Party and try to fix whatever isn’t working. That’s the last thing that they want – my involvement. In fact, usually, my best course of action is none, which makes it infuriatingly frustrating. I usually have to sit back and hope they might want to talk to me till they feel better – they usually don’t. And so I wait and I heap on them generous doses of silent love and understanding and hope that it will be enough. It never is…for me or them.


At 11:14 AM , Anonymous Annabelle said...

Hi Karen, its my first time here and coincidentally I was talking to my friend yesterday about this issue that I can only anticipate now that I have a daughter (she's 3 mos). I am really not looking forward to that part - the teasing in the schoolyards, the heartbreak, the disappointments etc. I can empathize, but I imagine it probably feels worse when it happens!

Anyway, I enjoyed your post and am going to continue having a look around.

At 11:23 AM , Blogger Elizabeth said...

Hey! Here from Michele!

What great advice. Being newly married, I wonder what it will be like to have kids, and I can only imagine how hard it will be to watch them suffer. That said, I would assume that you feel extra joyful when they succeed, right?

Great blog. I will be back.

At 11:43 AM , Blogger srp said...

Fortunately the teenage/college angst seems to work itself out. How many times have we heard "I hate my life" one day and "I love it here" the next? Reminds me of that old adage: If you don't like the weather here, wait five minutes.... it'll change.

At 2:36 PM , Anonymous Annabelle said...

oh and ps. I love e.e. cummings - for years I had his quote "for life is not a paragraph/and death, i think, is no paranthesis" attached to the end of my emails. (And thx for stopping by!)

At 4:04 PM , Blogger srp said...

Here from Michele.

We do try so hard to keep them safe from hurt feelings that we felt, broken hearts like ours, wrong choices and consequences like we made... and yet they get hurt, broken hears and make wrong choices; sometimes the same as ours and sometimes totally different. It is life. No one comes through unscathed. I just like to hope that my daughter is prepared emotionally to deal with what life hands out. So far she handles it just fine.

At 6:07 PM , Blogger Azgreeneyes said...

I haven't hit the teenage years, but my kids' issues get to me when one of them get left out, or another child is exceptionally mean/rude to them. I want to fix it, and have them always included, but I know that that is not always the best answer. But still...

Here from Michele's today

At 8:04 PM , Blogger Carmi said...

Our eldest son started in a new school this year. I wish I had read your gorgeously-worded entry before I walked him to school and left him in the schoolyard to find his own way in a strange new place. I would have felt a little less alone.

You've once again moved me with your words, Karen. Your kids may not know it, but you've got laser-precise parental instincts.

Something tells me they'll figure it out when they have kids of their own.

At 7:38 AM , Blogger kenju said...

Karen, I think you are a very smart parent.

"I realize that I weathered all of these same storms and made it through as a better and more well-rounded and perhaps empathetic person, but my first instinct is to throw my kids a Pity Party and try to fix whatever isn’t working. That’s the last thing that they want – my involvement. In fact, usually, my best course of action is none, which makes it infuriatingly frustrating".

You said a mouthful there - and about all you can do is soothe them and listen (if they will talk) and assure them you love them whatever happens.

Michele sent me.

At 10:00 AM , Blogger utenzi said...

Michele sent me, Karen.

I don't have kids so this hasn't come up in my life, Karen. I admit I'd not thought of it either. The protecting kids, sure. And also the nurse/doctor role that is required but I'd not considered the parental pain when your kid gets rejected or dissed in some way. I don't think you were naive at all, Karen. Yet another reason being a parent is such a difficult job..but I hear there are rewards of some nature?

At 4:36 PM , Blogger Catherine said...

It's so true. And whatever you do will turn out to be the wrong thing, later :)
I read your post about buying diapers. It reminded me of when my fourth child was in her first year of school, and one of the other pupils said to me "Are you Christina's mummy?" When I said yes, she said, "You don't look like someone's mummy, you look like someone's grandma" !!!
OK, her own mother was a fashion tart with tight pants, high heels, and big hair, but still :)
Michele sent me.

At 6:25 PM , Blogger Midori said...

Hi from Michele`s!

i am dreading the teenage years already as I am already fiercely protective of my son so I can`t imagine what I will be like when there are actual problems/ things/ people that are hurting him!

At 9:32 PM , Blogger Sandy said...

My kids are still young, but I already see signs of this. I dread that first break-up, or the first rejection letter. . .or the first cut from try-outs.

Good luck weathering their storms. Perhaps parents need a "My Heart's Out Past Curfew" support group. ;)

Michele sent me over today.

At 7:39 AM , Blogger kenju said...

Karen, I meant to say last time that ee cummings is one of my favorite poets. We studied some of his work in college - but the professor wouldn't delve too deeply - as you know some of his works are r-rated....LOL

Michele sent me back.

At 8:26 AM , Anonymous spagirl22 said...

no kids, so no comments, lol.
Stopping by from Michele's.

At 8:59 AM , Blogger Linda said...

I experienced that yesterday for the first 5 1/2 y/o dd came off the bus almost in tears and couldn't tell me what was wrong. I coaxed it out of her later that her "friend" on the bus took her little purse and hid it, then lied saying she didn't have it. When the girl finally relented, my poor dd had to FIGHT to get it from her, and the bus driver was yelling at her (my dd) to hurry up as she was the last on off the bus. Poor thing. I wanted to throttle this girl. And my dd STILL wants to go to the birthday party for this kid. Sigh.

Thanks for visiting my blog today!

At 9:27 AM , Blogger chrysalis said...

Wow. You make me want to go hug my mom.

Hi from M's.

At 10:39 AM , Anonymous Anne Glamore said...

Yep, as they get older, the physical part gets easier but the emotional part may kill me!

Thank God I have boys-- I'm wondering how my mom managed 3 girls.

At 12:07 PM , Blogger November Rain said...

Mom of two here from Michelle
Man I remember when they were born now its 18 and soon to be 16

it was tough with my son and my daughter

anyone got any super glue for my heart?

but its worth it when you watch your son graduate and become a man

and your daughter grows to a beautifull woman

At 8:11 PM , Blogger OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Very profound Karen...Everything you said from feeling ten-fold what happens to your children to them not wanting you to do anything when they are hurting...and the extreme pain of that!
It sure is hard being a parent....cause it never really ends---one way or another, it is "forever".

At 1:31 PM , Blogger Marisa said...

It may not be enough, but it helps, believe me.

And this poem, is one of my favorites.

Thanks for your visits, and your greetings. Hope your enjoying the change of season.


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