Monday, February 10, 2020

Did We DO enough...more empty nest thoughts

The road less traveled, the narrow road, the lonely trail.  I have heard this a thousand times about doing the right thing, living the just life, going down the narrow road.  It's not the "good" life, but the right life.  Not meant to be easy or on the buddy system either, lonely and desolate.  Not a fun picture to look at, much less live.  But I have tried...all of my life, er, except for one period of time...

About that time in my life, I knew about God and went to Mass periodically.  I even prayed for help many times. But I didn't really have a serious deep relationship with God, not in the way that lead me to make better decisions or desire a closer relationship with the him.

Now, fast film forward, after raising 3 children of my own, I have learned lesson upon lesson about sin and repentance. Parenting is not for the squeamish at heart, disappointment, fear, deep love, deep sense of protecting, and then the parent/spouse relationships that can get messy in the mix.  I have been married to the same man for 27 years and together we have raised 3 individuals with their own free wills and level of stubbornness.  Throughout all these years I have been the leader of the religious education and direction the family went; my husband was and always has been very supportive of my Catholic faith and raising the children Catholic.  That is one HUGE barrier we didn't have to work through!

If there is anything that I have learned through these years of parenthood, it is that, no matter how well you teach your children, bring them to Church each week and more, teach them about Jesus, His loving care, provide your children with lots of love, a loving marriage with all its warts and normal struggles, and give them a good education, sports, instruments, etc., they will still go their own way at one point despite their upbringing.   The other thing that I have learned, which was immensely difficult to grasp is that its not my fault.  Let me say this once more, despite what great parents you have been, providing all the comforts or at least the basics for your children, they will go their own way at one point and, yes, you must agree, it wasn't your fault.  You did your best and that's the best you can do.

Throughout all these years I taught many religion classes, RCIA sessions, attended many religion classes and taken many online courses and achieved the level of  master catechist. I have a much clearer understanding of the Catholic Church and her teachings.  One would think that I had the magic combination for raising well-adjusted Catholic individuals, but alas that is very untrue.  You've heard of the preacher's daughter, or the youth minister's doesn't matter what we do as parents, they will do what they do and we absolutely cannot blame ourselves for all of it.

My children know they are loved, there has never been a time when they doubted that.  They also know that their father and I will be there for them and support them with whatever we can.  They know that our home will always be their home...away from their own homes.

So, I guess what I am saying as a lecture to myself and to anyone else suffering from the guilt that comes with parenthood.  We are the best parents we can possibly be and whatever our children do, they will make their own minds and decisions despite what they know and how they were loved as children.  But, with prayer, LOTS of prayer, they will remember where they came from and someday thank you.

That period of life I told you about in the beginning?  Well, I was able to talk to my children about that time and that they will survive like I did.  But I also lamented to them that I wished they didn't have to learn the lessons I learned, and advised them about, all over again.  But, alas, at least one of our children will have to due to her stubbornness and deliberate need to carve her own life out underneath her sister and brother's shadows.

There are small peeks of hope and promise from her, but I remember calling my own mother one day and deeply apologizing to her.  "Mom, if I ever hurt you and/or caused you undue distress, I am SO  sorry!"  All my mother said was, "No, you didn't, you had your moments, but you were a good kid.  You definitely never did the things yours have done to you both."  That much I did know.  I still felt better after apologizing to her.

A mother's heart is big, but fragile and is broken easily, I know.

If only your children would just follow that narrow pathway, our worries would be few and far between and our hearts would be intact.


† Renee' Therese † said...

Great post..

Ebeth said...

Thank you, and thank you for stopping by with encouragement!

Janette said...

We can introduce God to our children, but the relationship is theirs to continue.That is where free will comes into play. If they do not fall, they will never understand forgiveness of God.
Wonderful post.