As Whitney and I were driving home from the gym yesterday morning, I was lamenting about a recent fight that had occurred the night before. Mean words were hurled by many and tears were shed by me. When one child came up to apologize for the hurtful things said all I could whisper through my tears was, "I love you. It's time for bed, we'll talk in the morning." I know that's not what they wanted to hear, but that was all my broken heart could give.
As I relayed the events of the previous night, Whitney commented, "You know the song 'Love is a Battlefield'? It really applies to families, to our family". I haven't been able to get the song (blah) or the idea out of my mind. Love is a battlefield. How did that phrase apply to our home, to our family?
I love my children. I love them more than life itself, but there are times when I am so frustrated and tired (a key component) that the conflicts seem overwhelming and I lose sight of the greater picture. Sometimes my children make such stupid choices and get angry when the consequences are not what they expected or want to face. Sometimes it's a fight to teach what is right, when everyone or everything around them is telling them the opposite. Sometimes they know it all, they know more than we do as their parents and tell us how we are doing things wrong or being hypocritical.
Sometimes there is a battle every single day.
Often I ask, "what am I doing wrong?"
I know I'm not the first parent to ask. I know I am not the only parent to shed tears of desperation when the only thing you can do is get on your hands and knees and pray.
As I continued my reflection over the course of the day, memories of my childhood tricked into view. Moments of stupidity and poor choices flashed before my eyes. Defensiveness and anger over my victimization are now a source of regret and embarrassment. I always thought I knew more than my parents. They had no idea what I was going through and were just doing things to make my life miserable. Words I hurled at them were now being thrust upon me.
I was an idiot.
I was a teenager.
My parents endured my absurdity, they suffered through my terrible choices and they shed tears and prayers in my behalf. In the end, I knew they loved me and would always be there to help and support me and correct me if needed, even if I didn't want to admit it. They have done this throughout my life, setting the ultimate example of parenthood.
Today my darling children, I will tell you again, as I have daily expressed, I'm not giving up.
I'm here to stay.
I love you so much that I will continue to battle for your lives. I am do not claim to be a perfect mother, let alone a very good one, but I am not laying down my sword. I will wipe away my tears and I will continue to learn and grow right along side you.
When you remind me of my flaws and faults, I will wrap my arms around you and tell you I love you. When you accuse me of ruining your life, I will try harder to be better and tell you I love you. When the world treats you unjustly and you take out your frustrations on me, I will cry with you and tell you I love. When all seems lost and hopeless, I will be there for you and tell you I love you.
I will not give up on you.
I will not give up on me.
Together we are stronger.
Together we will overcome our weaknesses.
Together we will love.