Daggers Through the Heart
The day finally arrives. The day you’ve planned for and dreamed of and anticipated for so long finally arrives. It is the day your child is born. There’s no greater joy and you must experience this day to know how true this is. When you get to hold that precious baby in your arms, you know there is a God and all is right with the world. You feel as if you might burst with joy. You find yourself making promises to that precious small bundle of joy that they will never long for anything. That there will never be a need for tears, ever, because you will take care of them. You will love them. You will see to their every need. You will never let anyone hurt them. You will give them all of the things that you never had. You promise them a great childhood. A childhood so wonderful they’ll write books about it someday. You promise all of that and much, much more. And you believe that you will be able to keep those promises. You believe it with all of your heart and soul.
The years go by quicker than you realize. Another baby or two may have joined the family and you find yourself sleep deprived, walking the floors at night with one newborn baby or another. Fixing bottles, changing diapers, and slowly losing whatever life you had before children. A life of quiet time or long baths or hours spent on hair and makeup is just a distant memory. Your child, or children, and their happiness and well being has become your life and you wouldn’t have it any other way. Bath time and bedtime stories and cuddle time make your heart melt. You sing them lullabies. You teach them to talk and to walk. As the years go by your afternoons are filled with helping with home work and school projects. And because you made that promise to that newborn baby, your child is now enrolled in several extra curricular activities like baseball and dance lessons and piano lessons and you now have to fit into those same afternoons of home work and school projects, baseball practice and dance class and shuttling across town to and fro. But you love your child and this is your life now. And, if you’re like most moms, you also work a full-time job which involves 40 hours per week plus commute. Your job must never take priority or precedence over your child’s baseball game or dance recital. You must always be available. And when your baby or your young child is sick, it is your responsibility to take time off from work and take care of it. The father hardly ever shares this responsibility but then again, the father hardly ever shares any of the child rearing responsibilities. Added to your career work week and your child’s school week and your child’s extra curricular activities is also the burden of providing well balanced home cooked meals for your child. Never mind that they got out of school at 3:30 p.m. and must be at ball practice at 4:00 p.m. and that you don’t get off work till 5:00 p.m. and have an hour commute, you must and will find a way to make it all work out. You also find a way to pay for it all. All of those dance recital lessons and dance costumes and braces and trips to orthodontist, field trips and senior trips. The list is endless but you do it all. And then there’s college. By then, maybe you’re a single mom and still doing it all for your child. You work extra jobs to pay for their first cars, college, apartments and weddings. Before you know it, twenty or more years have flown by. Your children are all grown, out of college, married and on their own. You think you can finally do something that you’ve always wanted to do. Maybe you open a shop or buy a farm or travel because hey, you’ve got so much free time now, right? You’ve paid your dues. You’ve raised your children. You put your own desires on hold. But then the grandkids come along and your now 30 year old children think you are supposed to be available at a moment’s notice to baby sit when their babies are sick. They don’t hesitate to tell you how you should live your life and how you shouldn’t be tied to other commitments “at your age”. You should be available to help them when they need it. And the one time you can’t, you get the daggers through the heart that virtually every mother gets at some point or another. It’s when your grown children, the ones you did so much for, unleash on you and tell you, with a very straight and angry face, “you were never there for me.” If your child has ever hurled one of these daggers at you, you know it goes straight through your heart and creates a deep and painful wound that almost never heals. It’s a wound a mother carries to her grave.