Monday, May 25, 2009

The One That May Or May Not Be True

"Wait for meeeee......."

It's a cry heard often on playgrounds, in backyards, on streets, and in homes across the country and around the world. In any language, in any place, the cry is universal. As a matter of fact, you don't even need to speak the language to understand the meaning, you know the sound and you've felt the feeling yourself. Everyone has at one time or another. Everyone at one time or the other, has been the one uttering the plaintive wail.

"Wait for meeeee......"

As parents, we dread the day when our child is the child uttering the wail. We know it will happen, as sure as the sun will rise in the morning, our kid will be the kid left behind at least once in their lives. When it happens, we soothe the offended child. We tell them that they are worthwhile, we tell them that they are valuable, we tell them that we love them. We tell them that every person has value. We tell them that evey human being has something worthwhile within them. Once the wailing has subsided, we tell them to remember this feeling. We tell them to remember so that they won't make someone else feel as bad as they do right now.

"Wait for meeee......"

Inevitably, it will come to pass when our child will be the child who leaves someone behind. And our hearts hurts. Our hearts hurt not only for the child who has been left behind, but for our own child, the one who has done the leaving, because we never wanted them to be burdened with the guilt of hurting another, and we try to teach the lesson once again. We tell them to "bring enough for the whole class" and "how did you feel when that happened to you?". Perhaps we choose another route, perhaps we try and teach them about endurance. We say things like "just play one game with him/her, then you can be on your way." Maybe we go with bribery "if you stop that, I'll get you..." And we hope it doesn't happen again, but we know it will...

"Wait for meeeee...."

As our children age and travel through school and friends, we hear the wail from time to time. Whether it's our child doing the wailing or someone else's, it still hurts our hearts. We still hope that our child will be the child who "gets it". We hope our child is the child who will stand up.
"Wait for meeee...."

It's not so simple for our children, especially as they live their lives outside of our direct control, outside of our sphere of influence. Instead of our approval, they seek the approval of their friends. They seek the acceptance of the "crowd". They seek to be part of the pack. They fear the pack turning on them should they be the ones to stand up, should they be the one who hears the wail, who feels the wail.

"Wait for meeeee....."

We wonder when our children will feel their own power. We wonder when "pack" approval will no longer matter, we pray that that day comes sooner rather than later. Sadly, we know in our hearts that it will never come for some. We hope with all our might that the "some" is actually "some other kid". We hope that we are the example not the lesson. We continue to hope. As we listen the the explanations, the excuses, we continue to hope that our child won't be the child who is responsible for the wail.

"Wait for meeeee..."

For those who's child is the wailer we fervently hope that they discover their power as well. We hope that they learn how to stand up, we hope that they learn to shout....

"Don't wait for meeee..."


metalia said...

I came here to find an email address to thank you for the amazing plane travel trips, or failing that, a recent post where I could leave a comment expressing my gratitude. And while I do still want to do that (THANK YOU!! Your advice is invaluable!), I also have to say that this post blew me away. You so beautifully expressed one of those Big Parenting Things I often wonder/worry about, but the way you put it cast such a warm, inspiring light on these inevitabilities of raising kids. Thank you.

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