There are days when my kids have garden variety problems, or garden variety problems that are like, the Jumbo Costco size, and I think it is the end of the world. I think the world is absolutely going to put up a sign that says, “THE END.”
I usually only think this way for a little bit, before I snap into solution mode, but I’ll tell you what really gets to me and makes me man up when I’m like this, and that’s looking at a parent with a chronically ill child, or who has a child who has an issue that will require constant attention throughout his or her life because of a physical or mental deficit. These are the parents that make me take notice, and learn how to prioritize, because these are the parents that are tested in ways that make the SAT’s the LSAT’s and MCAT’s COMBINED look like ordering a vanilla ice cream cone. This is the kind of hard stuff that deserves medals and to have all calories removed from food as a little nod.
What I find fascinating about these parents, is that I know the love they have for their child. I know it because I have it for my child, and if you have a child, you have it for your child. It is a mixture of adoration, affection, and I-will-lay-myself-down-for-you-ness, all glued together with those valentine day heart candies with little messages and Skippy super chunk peanut butter. Everybody always says things like, “There is no love like a parent’s love.” And it sounds so trite, and Hallmark, but you know what? THERE IS NO LOVE LIKE A PARENT’S LOVE. It’s the goddamn truth.
So, there you are, all loving your child, and yet loving your child also brings difficulty. Talk about a challenging set of feelings. That deep, deep love, all mixed with complexity and pain. What a confusing cocktail.
And yet, I see parents who are presented with this and rise to the occasion better than a hot air balloon. And those are the people who I meet, or read about and never meet. who set me straight and give me strength when my kids are having a thing that freaks me out. These are the parents who didn’t order the Special, but got it anyway, and who teach the rest of us how to be better. Gratitude to those guys. They’ve taught volumes.