Monday, August 30, 2004

No Glib Assurances

DoubtEverything? Nothing is as it first seems? Everything has shadows? Yes, I did write those words. I must remember this when considering my tentative emergence from the dark tunnel of teenage parenting. Resist any pull towards cockiness.

Interestingly, a friend expresses her own parental concerns. Angst, prompted by a daughter’s withdrawal and rudeness. Angst about potential futures. Rings a familiar sounding bell. And it is true, I feel huge relief that it is not my story this time. Equally, I experience empathy. I have worn similar shoes.

However, I won’t shower her with glib assurances that everything will work out in the end. As if it were a given. It is not. Nevertheless, I won’t deny that such a probability is highly likely.

I think that if I have anything to offer, it would be this: We are not our children and they are not us. It is hard to know when to take our hands off. How to hold our children in open palms. Recognise their seperateness. There seems to come a point when taking care of oneself requires letting go a little. Unfortunately, it is all too easy to feel negligent as a result. Letting go is a process. It does happen. Sooner or later. Consciously, at first. And later, increasingly unconsciously. And, thankfully, with a lesser measure of discomfort.

It strikes me as destructively unhelpful to forget the considered parental input of previous years. Helpful to consciously remind oneself that the influence of those considered endeavours, no matter how imperfect, is not simply dissolved by present difficulties.

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