What Really Matters This Thanksgiving
By Bernadette A. Moyer
At the time of this writing I have been parenting for just over 32 years, there have been many years when I believed my parenting skills to be in line with my life’s greatest accomplishments and other times when I knew first hand that I totally missed the mark.
In parenting I learned that love truly is blind, that letting go is by far the greatest challenge and seldom does it matter what we really want for our children. In the end, it comes down to their life, lived out in their way.
I have loved and lost in parenting to where my skin hurt and the hole left in my heart was at least the size of a cannonball. My children taught me the true meaning of love, where you give and you give and expect nothing in return. It is the only relationship, when it is you who brings that child into this world and you who chose to give them life. You give life to your child who may live in a way that you may never understand but you know that the gift was in the giving.
With the three children I have mothered, I learned that each child is unique and different and comes with their own likes, dislikes, talents and abilities. I learned that where environment may matter, that does not translate into same environment and same outcome for each child.
It was in parenting that I learned humility and put myself in places and spaces that I would never have gone without the hand holding of my child who led me there. I learned that children have immediate needs and the adults in my life could wait. My children taught me patience and they taught me to trust in the letting go. My kids taught me that most children will be dishonest at times and not to take it personally or believe that because your view is one of a close parent and child relationship, it will mean honesty at all times, on all issues.
If the definition of forgiveness is defined as letting go of how you thought it should be, then again it was my children who taught me how to forgive. I learned to forgive myself, before I could begin to forgive them, or any others.
As amazing as giving birth is so is the circle of life, after 32 years of parenting I have learned so much from my children and all the many enrichments they have afforded me. Our children are all legal adults now and the greatest lesson learned is that each child was God’s gift to us. Then came the day when we had to trust the process and the life cycle. The time arrived when they were no longer in our care nor were they our responsibility. It was then again when we knew to return them back to God who trusted us with them so long ago and who we trust will continue to protect them and to watch over them.
Happy Thanksgiving 2012!
Updated November 2012 originally published in The Catholic Review and The North County News