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Loving My Kids and Letting Them Experience Hurt

Yesterday, my youngest underwent surgery to get his second set of tubes and his adenoids removed.  We woke at 4:30 AM to arrive for surgery registration at 6.  Thank goodness we were scheduled early, because there is just no explaining to a 2 year old why he cannot have his juice or a yogurt.  Despite its low risk nature and this being his second such operation, I was a hot mess.  I held his hand and cooed comforting words as the doctor started anesthesia, holding it together as he started crying and struggling to take the mask off.  However, as soon as he fell asleep, the tears rolled unchecked down my checks.  I worried and stressed incessantly the next couple hours as we transitioned from surgery, to post-op update, to comforting a groggy distressed toddler.  I only took a deep breath after we were discharged and heading to McDonald’s for much needed comfort food.

Overpowering Love for My Kids

In situations like this, I realize with overpowering clarity how much I love my boys.  For this love I would do anything – die, kill, even speak up against minor grievances (something I would never do for myself).  Nothing brings out a mother’s protective instinct like a perceived or actual threat.  If anyone tried to hurt my boys, nothing would stop me from going all Uma Thurman – Kill Bill style revenge on his ass.  Mr. Congreve was wrong – Hell hath no fury like a mother protecting her baby.

Hard Life Lessons

Unfortunately, hurt and difficulties are natural consequences of being human.  On a recent road trip, my 4 year old asked “Can we keep Roma (our 10 year old lab) forever and ever?”  The easy solution to this inquiry would have been to avoid a direct answer or lie.  Instead, my husband gently explained that we would keep and love Roma for as long as she lived.  Thus ensued our first conversation about limitations on life and what medicine can and cannot do.  I didn’t want to have this conversation, I would rather protect my son such realities.

However, I cannot (nor should I try to) protect my boys against all threats or painful experience.  If I continually shield and protect them from every hurt or from the ugliness in this world, I would be doing them a great disservice.  Part of my job is to equip them to handle the inevitable trials that life will put them through.  To me, this means creating a strong foundation of love and values and providing tools for spreading their wings and recovering from mistakes.  Of course, these lessons need to be taught at the appropriate time and manner (which is a complete crap shoot since children do not come with a user manual and each child is different).

Trust Your Intuition

But, the universe did give parents intuition.  No one knows your child as well as you do so give yourself credit and trust that inner guidance.  Know that I and countless others are right there with you.

Love and light, Jennifer

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