If you didn’t see these beautiful letters roaming on Veteran’s Day, I’m sending you there now.
There is something that happens when you have a child and the world is crumbling around you.
As a single person, your world is your own. You take leaps and bounds because your actions affect only you, in the end. There is no one to ask permission of, no one else to think of, and the world doesn’t need to think of you no matter what your choices are. There is so much freedom in that (sometimes if I’m honest, I miss it).
When you’re married, there’s a bit more compromise. Choosing this person as your partner, is a choice. Sometimes one you make every day, because you chose to be together, under law in all things. Less a romantic notion and while most people who walk into a marriage do so with love in their eyes, the realities of marriage sometimes takes years to be fully understood. In the end, however, by choice or by law- you are partners in all things. They need to be taken into consideration just as much as your own thoughts, opinions and actions.
But they come into partnership with you, with their own thoughts, opinions and actions too.
You learn through communication, arguments, love, and everything in between to face the world on a united front- whatever that looks like for you.
When you have a child, the world falls away with another kind of love. You became more scared, more risk-averse, more accepting, more lost and confused, and braver than you’ve ever been.
Because you are no longer living life for yourself, you are living it for someone whose love you can never truly understand in its unconditionality because there is very little you would not do for them.
My cousin, a therapist and pastor in Cleveland, Ohio, told me during a conversation where I went to her seeking counsel on marriage and parenting. She’s a mother of 3 and married far longer than I.
Parents who worry about being good parents, only do so because they are good parents. Those that aren’t, don’t.Sage advice from a Prima (cousin)
I am trying to make the world a better place, for my daughter, for myself and for my family.
Just like this war veteran, was trying to for his son. Sometimes parents just need a reminder.
So from one parent to another, if you worry- you’re probably a good parent.
“We are on opposite sides of the world, “ he wrote, “but . . . I feel very close to you. . . . I gave you something of my life when you came into being, but, at the same time, you gave me something intangible that has a value in life which cannot be measured, the pride and joy of re-creation, the completion of one’s cycle of life, for this I am indebted to you.”Letter from a Father to his Son, March 11 1945
If you have adjusted your life for your child, do not let resentment or regret fill your hate. Instead, work on the things that bring you joy, however you can.
For me, that includes writing, sometimes early in the morning or late at night.
During COVID, my life has adjusted into being more homemaker than entrepreneur or academic and I was upset for a long time. Then I realized that this pandemic will one day be over, but the time that I have been lucky enough to have spent with my husband and family will live with me forever.
Life is hard, complicated with its ups and downs, but for the first in my lifetime- the world is suffering together and working on a united front. Those are the legacies I want my daughter to learn about and learn from.
Won’t you join me in creating that better world?
Yours in kind,