Parental Love

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Parental Love
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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There is no greater opportunity for love like the love a parent has for their child.

“Parental love is a limited reflection of a limited love. In the experience of parental love I was wounded as were you, and every other human being. Most parents are the best and the greatest, but in the human experience, parents are also very broken people.” Henri J.M. Nouwen

I am always intrigued by how parents speak about their children and equally intrigued about how children speak about their parents. Parents aren’t perfect and neither are their offspring.

The kids that profess to come from the “perfect family” alarm me as much as the ones who declare they are a product of the “worst family” I suspect neither to be 100% true.

In a recent news story three tiger cubs band together as their mother’s maternal instincts fail. It was a first time mother in a zoo and the staff there is tasked with nurturing the baby cubs. The vet says that they won’t re-introduce the mother because she won’t recognize them. There was no bonding that took place. Most mothers could never imagine this and yet it happens, it also happens that offspring reject their parents.

Most parents would literally kill for their children, hurt the child and suffer the parental consequences.

John has a grown daughter that he once loved dearly and would have killed for, today they are estranged. His feelings have changed. Now he states, “she is not a good person, I don’t like her and how she acts” it is hard to imagine how he could feel one way and then the exact opposite way.

He says, “I have feelings too” in reference to the things that she has said about him and done to him.

We all witness the Trump family and the adult children that seem to have such a close and loving relationship with their father. Whether you like him or not, he maintains close, loving and supportive relations with all his kids.

When my own daughter became a teenager and started acting out like so many teenagers do, it was the first time that I saw her through different lenses. In her behaviors I witnessed her father who was deceased before her third birthday and although not around she had many of his traits and characteristics.

Parents are people with the same wide range of feelings as all others and kids can make their parents proud as easily as they can disappoint them. Parents find joy in their children and they also suffer sadness and grief because of them too. It is no different than any other relationship.

Maybe we expect too much from our kids and therefore can be disappointed. I think the best place to be is where I am today. My children are all adults aged 25 to 36 and I no longer view them as a reflection of myself or my parenting but rather as their own unique individuals.

There is such freedom in having adult children that you are no longer responsible for and you can do as much as you want with them and for them or as little as you choose.

Today I view parenting as though the gift is and was in the giving and like any gift if it was well received all the better but my part was solely as the parent that gave the gift of parenting.

Parenting is an awesome responsibility and it is not an exact science. Most all of us go into it wanting and doing our very best. Where the outcomes may be different the tasks, responsibilities, love, commitment and efforts involved in parenting are all so similar.

“There is nothing wrong with the pleasure that comes from a big meal, a sexy night, or victory on the playing field — but it is fleeting. Raising kids, working through marriage troubles, and volunteering at a soup kitchen may be less pleasurable, but these pursuits provide fulfillment – a sense that you’re the best person you can be.”

From LOVE THAT BOY by Ron Fournier

Happy parenting and happy being the best that you can be …

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
Books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Five Fingers Five Toes

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Five Fingers Five Toes
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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Parents want their children to be healthy and happy. The first thing a parent does is count the fingers and the toes of their children. They want to know that they are healthy and that they were born as perfect as possible. But the truth is every single child born is as perfect as possible. They are all gifts from God.

I don’t know of any parent that doesn’t want a healthy and happy child and to see that child grow to become a healthy and happy adult. Yet not every single person will be healthy or happy hard as we try and as much as we hope and pray.

My husband and I have raised three children and one child is a gifted and talented artist. He has also taught us how to raise an upside down child in a right side up world. He is different. He struggles socially and he struggles with the “norms” placed on many young adults. We could continue to fight him and push him or we could let go in love and accept him as he is … I just finished reading Love That Boy.

Love That Boy was written by Ron Fournier and is about a father that had to learn about love and parental expectations. Parents often have a vision of how a child should act and how they should behave and how they should look. Many parents put their expectations upon that child and sometimes that child is unwilling or unable to meet those expectations. The child in Love That Boy is a child on the autism spectrum. His father was often concerned about his son embarrassing himself or his dad.

Let’s face it every single well baby visit measures by “norms” on size and weight and developmental skills. There are charts on where a child should be to be considered “normal” we do measure our babies and our children.

Our kids go to school and they learn math and English and all kinds of text book learning but they also learn social skills and they too measure on what is “normal” and what is “different” or problematic. The parent’s job is to give their children what they need and not necessarily what they want. Sometimes knowing what a child needs is difficult to discern. We never really know what goes on in another person’s mind.

The single greatest challenge is to love that child regardless what they say and what they do, we learn to separate the words and the actions from the person. Real love transcends it all. There are always gifts and talents if we are willing to look for them and to appreciate them. Each child born is a gift from God.

Our son acknowledges his difficulty with social skills and yet I personally don’t notice them, we have an easy and loving relationship. I’ve had to learn to stop measuring my children, they are who they are and they are what they are and very little or any of it has to do with me. They are their own unique and individual person.

Where five fingers and five toes are important, what is most important is what is in someone’s heart. Our son has a huge heart and a conscience and always tries to right his wrongs and learn from his mistakes. What else could any parent hope for?

Today is Mother’s Day and this mother is both proud and pleased, we celebrated our relationship yesterday with breakfast out and a movie, we had fun and he planned it all! So although he struggles with several developmental markers, in my book he is still learning and growing and trying and therefore doing just fine …

We may not get the child we think that we want but we definitely get the child that God alone intended for us. And that is good and good enough …

Happy Mother’s Day! Celebrate what you have and what you had and what you learned well beyond five fingers and five toes!

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
All books by Bernadette A Moyer on Amazon and Barnes & Noble