You're not asking for much...maybe a few minutes in peace to collect your thoughts, or help with cleaning the messes THEY made without the sighs and complaints of the unfairness of their lives. You're not even expecting a "thank you," although something other than "YOU'RE MEAN!" would be nice. And to think we put all this effort into raising them so they'll go off and leave us one day and we'll be sad that they never visit or call often enough. Your free time used to be spent on catching up on the latest movies and trying out a new restaurant, or just a walk by yourself down a lovely trail. Now, "free time" is doing chores, planning and attending birthday parties (that ALWAYS end in tears), and trying to find a way to entertain them and keep your sanity in the process. You've abandoned hope that they'll actually absorb any of the lessons you futilely try to impart.
But there are moments that seem to shine like sparkles of hope. Tonight was one of these, and I'll even try to forget that it ended badly. After the frustration of an unquiet quiet time, the neediness of the kids, and my lack of frustration, I decided we had to get out of the house. We loaded up the bikes and went down to the greenway, something we've done only once before. The kids were excited, and I was glad to get some fresh air, perspective, and a bit of exercise. Brady is relatively new to riding his bike without training wheels, but has picked it up much more quickly than many things he's tried. Once we got on the route, he quickly took off away from Maryn and me. In just a minute's time, he was just a speck off in the distance. He didn't stop or look back, and for once I wasn't anxious, but proud. I finally saw an independent spirit in the boy who constantly need attention and affirmation. He was on his own and soaring in his freedom. He is so little, and yet on his bike, he must have felt so big and powerful. By the time we caught up with him, he had made it to our playground destination and was getting off his bike. He paused for a moment to look back and see if I would stop him, but I only smiled, and he ran ahead to play.
Sometimes in these moments I can catch a glimpse of their future greatness in their present goodness.