No. of Recommendations: 11

I came across your post in "Best Of" and just wanted to wish you well -- and urge you to hang in there.

I'm not a perfect mother. I get frustrated and tired and grumpy. I lose my temper over stupid stuff. I'm human. One of the most humbling things I've learned from having kids is the ability to apologize - Sorry kids, Mommy is very tired and can't play right now. I'm sorry.

And that's okay, and THEY are okay, and I am okay. Both my parents worked (as did their parents) and I am okay. I'm college educated, I am in a steady, long-term relationship with a man that treats my children as his own, I have a profession I actually enjoy, we have a house and a dog and a turtle and a riding lawn mower and we are okay.

I cite this because I think it's important to, in effect, shake your hand for realizing that "it is what it is", and you seem to be dealing with it. Life is a series of choices, after all. We all make choices and should then deal with them.

For what it's worth, we raised several children (we were and still are married), and I smiled at some of what you had to say. It's NOT easy, is it?

However, there are rewards, too, as you know. Among the rewards are the joys you experience whenever the kids achieve something and smile or shout about it, or when you get a pair of arms around your neck and a simple "thanks", and any of countless other times, big and little, that honestly do make it worthwhile.

If you manage to do it right, somehow (and there are no firm "rules"), hopefully, you will one day experience the joy of again having an empty nest (as we have had for a number of years now), with the "kids" finally educated, on their own, married (if they choose that) with children of their own (again, if they choose to have them and can). Hopefully, too, you'll all still be reasonably close, so you can see your grand children on special occasions, at least.

Maybe one day you will also experience the joy of having one or more of your "kids" quietly thank you for doing all that you did to help them grow up. And, hopefully, you will also be able to tell yourselves that, regardless of how "well off" they may be financially, they all grew up to be honest, caring, hardworking people, thanks largely to all your hard work.

We weren't always right, either, and we didn't always do the smartest or best things, either, but we tried to. It has been obvious to us that, from things our grown children have said to us, it wasn't always what we said but what we did along the way. As one told us, "We noticed that you guys were always honest, you followed through on whatever you took on, whether it was a job or caring for us or some church or civic thing. You never just plain dropped the ball, like some people do, and we all admired that." (!)

Finally, a little thing that I have never forgotten: When they were all grown up, at a family Christmas event, one turned to me with a small smile on his face, and quietly asked "Dad, do you know the best present you ever gave us kids?" Thinking he was going to mention a bike or something, I said "Nope. What was it?" He looked me in the eye and said "The best gift you ever gave us was letting us all know that you loved each other and us. THAT was the best gift of all."

I had no reply, but I'll confess that I had to struggle to keep from puddling up at THAT one!

Good luck, and, again, hang in there! Our society NEEDS good parents for young people.

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When Life Gives You Lemons
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