A Parent’s Happiness

Words just can’t express the joy that enters the home when a baby arrives. There’s nothing like a baby or two, or even six, to fill a home with love. My first three bundles of joy were born in the hospital. The last three were born at home. Yeah, I’m a trooper like that.

From the moment of conception you become a parent. My daughter-in-law is pregnant with their first child. I watch how she holds her expanding tummy and I love to hear her say how much she loves taking care of her baby. And she is doing just that. She is taking care of her little one. She is a parent. And she will never be anything less.

We spend the next 18+ years nurturing our offspring. We make sure their physical needs are met. That they grow up with healthy attitudes and ideals. We make sure if they don’t know an answer to a question that they know how to find it. We wipe noses, say prayers, sing lullabies, discipline, reward, plant butterfly kisses on sleepy cheeks, play endless boardgames, give them chores, kiss boo-boos, correct their slouching, go to all their ballgames, pray a ton more, teach them respect…ohhhhhh, that list never ends. And with each birthday comes even more challenges and learning processes. (For both parent and child.)

The basic reason for our existence for 20, 30, 40 years is children. And all through those years we’ve laughed with them. We’ve cried with them. Fought for them. Praised them and cheered them on. We watched them have fun with their friends. We saw how sometimes they were treated unfairly. We pay attention to how they treat others. We feel everything they feel.

I recently wrote a blog called Pieces of My Soul and it relates to this post. It’s as though each child receives an actual part of our heart/soul when they come into our world. Well, truthfully they are pieces of us, and with that, we share many things. Feeling their every emotion is part of being a parent.

When a child hits a home run, we feel that excitement as though we were the one holding the bat. And we feel it intensely.

When a child is praised we feel that.
When a child is bullied we feel that as well. When a child makes bad decisions we feel every bit of the repercussions.
When a child is honored we share in that feeling of being lifted up.

So with all this shared emotion, just how happy is a parent?

There is barely a line between us and them. If there’s even a separation at all. And when you have more than one child, it gets even more complicated. That’s a lot of emotion to carry. There is no turn-off valve as a parent or an age when a child no longer owns that portion of your heart.

I had a friend respond to that post Pieces of My Soul. He shared with me something that his father used to say and what he said is exactly the explanation I needed for my own knowledge and for my own peace of mind…that I’m not actually crazy.

A parent is only as happy as his most unhappiest child.

Ready that again.

A parent is only as happy as his most unhappiest child.

One more time.

A parent is only as happy as his most unhappiest child.

TRUTH.

Ask a parent or grandparent if this isn’t so. I believe it to be absolutely true.

There are those who do not understand my ebbs and flows, my ups and downs, or my rhymes and reasons. I always look like one hot mess to them (and I am) and enough so that people try to protect me from hard things. That’s because I appear to be frail and unable to handle stress well.

I’m not frail in the sense of my inability to cope. When you review my past you see that I have survived many things. I think more appropriately I should not be confused with being frail but of one who loves with her whole being. Sensitive. A parent who feels every bit of what her kids feel. A sponge that absorbs all of everything.

When a child suffers from depression, depression becomes a part of us. Same with joy and happiness. We are interwoven. I didn’t even fully understand why I feel the way I do until I read this.

A parent is only as happy as his most unhappiest child.

I cannot be protected from life, nor should I be. This is who I am. If I am unhappy…just maybe I have a struggling child. If I’m ecstatic on another day…just maybe one of my kids received good news. I have six kids. Yes, my emotions might be all over the map. Okay, they are all over the map. My heart is trying to keep up. Add that to all of my own personal experiences and well…yes, I am a hot mess.

I love deeply and with my whole being. I am interconnected and interwoven with the children I bore. I would never chose to be less than that even though my life is tougher because of it.

A parent’s happiness is complicated for sure. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Maybe with this simple understanding, life will be a tad bit easier for all of us.

Just love me for who (how) I am. ♥️

Andi

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