Being a parent is an illusion that you actually have some control over the life of another human being. It’s easy to see how the self-delusion starts: our children start out totally dependent on us to meet all of their needs. Once they hit the toddler stage, however, things get shaky, as they realize they have choice. But we retain our vast superiority in size, and with it, our illusion of control.
Then the teen years hit, and it all hits. We careen between peace and all-out war, spending much of the time in between in a tentative truce. They’re trying to grow up, and we’re trying to learn how to let them. The realization slowly sinks in to both of us that control has shifted. If we’re lucky, it’s a soft landing reality. If not, it can rip the relationship down the middle. Either way, it’s a painful lesson for all.
I count myself unbelievably blessed. I’ve always said that I don’t just love my kids, I’m fortunate to like them, too. But in the end, even the kids eventually acknowledge that any obligation on either side has now shifted to sheer choice. I’m hopeful, based on not a little evidence, that my children will choose to keep me in their lives.
“Each day of our lives we make a deposit in the memory banks of our children.” –Charles R. Swindoll