For several months my eldest daughter would wake up in the middle of the night, almost every night, and scream. Sometimes she would call my name. Sometimes she would just scream. But it happened almost every night.
At first I could think of no reason for this. She was always happy and cheerful during the day, why would she not be so while she slept? Then I came to the conclusion that it was from her stress of watching her mother and I part ways.
She sleeps quite well these days, and it seems the worst has passed. But today I heard another parent talking about how her daughter was waking up every night and screaming and she had no idea why. Our daughters are roughly the same age, so it suddenly struck me perhaps it was one of those phases children go through. I spoke with this other parent about my own experiences. I think it comforted her to here them, and she in turn spoke with me about how we sometimes blame ourselves when that is not the case.
There are things my mother still blames herself for involving my own childhood. I know she did her best, and I would not trade her for any other mother in the world. I have heard many people say they do not wish to become their parents. I only hope I can come close to being as good a parent as mine were. No my childhood was not picturesque, but that was all due to reasons beyond my parents control.
I think it very interesting that I can hold my parents in such high regard, yet my mother thinks she could have done so much better for her part. I think what that other parent said to me today is very true. I think it is also revealing of another trait of parents. We want to keep our children from harm. We also want to believe we have the power to do this. Therefore, if a child is hurt, we want to know what we could have done to stop it, and so we blame ourselves. The bitter truth is sometimes there is nothing we can do. But if the child knows we will come to check the scrapes and bruises, I think we have done a decent job.
So to my parents, thank you. And to my daughters, I may not always be there when you fall, but I'll always give you a hand up if you need it.
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