I have never been satisfied with anyone’s explanation of what a parent’s love for their child is. You must be a parent to really understand what true unconditional love is all about. You could talk about the euphoria you feel just after the birth of your child. Who can explain the deep joy, the connection, the emotional commitment you never dreamed possible. You never forget their first cold, the worry, the concern, am I doing the right things? Is there anything I can do to make it easier on my child? How should I react? I don’t want to overreact. There is the child’s pain of teething. You really can’t stand the pain your child is going through at that time, and then there is the joy of hearing the clang of their first tooth. The milestones come one right after another. There will be tricycles, bicycles and cars. Every day will be a new adventure filled with excitement and curiosity. He will be crawling to find things you never thought would be interesting that are on the floor. There is the ecstasy of their first step. First walking around furniture and then letting go. Neither parents nor children have any idea of the significance of those first steps of new independence. It will be a lifetime of steps towards independence. There will be the precious questions that you can hardly believe are so clever and so insightful that your child is asking. There will be perceptions that need more explanation. There will be their friends that you really like, and their friends that don’t please you as much. There will be outfits that they put on that make them cuter then you can imagine. There will be the first time they can read you a story and the first time they read something out of the newspaper and apply it to a conversation. There will conversations about sex, alcohol, drugs, religious beliefs and death. There will be moments when they need discipline. There will be moments when they will need support.
There will be moments when they seek advice or some type of intervention. They will make mistakes and you will hope that you are their soft place to fall. Have you established a relationship where they can tell you their mistakes? Have you expressed your love every day? Is your advice important to them? Do you talk things over when you are making decisions that affect all of you? Have you come to know your child well enough that you can help them learn about themselves? Have you set a standard of ethics and values that they can grow from and become better people? Do your children know about giving back personally, physically and financially? Is your child able to laugh easily? Is your child confident that they can fix their own mistakes? Do you know when to let go and let your child fly solo?
Have you given them enough respect for themselves that they can pass it on? It is easy to get a grip on when your parenting begins. You never get a good grip on when your parenting ends. You always want to be helpful and supportive for as long as you live.