There are times in our lives that we make promises to people.
If you choose a friend, in that word itself is the promise to support each other. Even if you don’t agree with the decision, you don’t call your friend out in front of people, you don’t run them down all over town and you NEVER hurt them intentionally. This is how real friends stay that way, how old friends can get together once every couple of years and feel like they were never apart. This is the friendship that still feels like quality time when all you did was stand quietly together for eight hours of fishing on the shore and spoke no more than a half a dozen words all day. When the inspirational poster say that if you want a friend you must be a friend, THIS is what it means.
When you choose a partner in this life, you are essentially choosing the other half of you. You are a pair, like a pair of lovely earrings or a set of rings, you belong together. The choice of a life partner is just that. A partner for life. Life is a three legged race, and when one stumbles, either the other catches or they both go down. Best three legged race I ever saw was run by a couple who never fell. They wrapped their arms around each other, found their rhythm and supported each other the entire way across the field. Okay, so the burly guy who carried his partner the whole way crossed the finish line first, but if you look at that 100m as a life? You see that he was over burdened, and she had no life. He was completely unable to defend her from the flock of sparrows that were coming at her, and she never learned to shoo them away. No, I want to be that older couple. Supported in all things, enabled to offer the same support, moving comfortably through life with time for a quiet conversation and a nice veiw of the scenery. I will settle for coming in later across the finish line of life, for I will have lived it.
Most of this world has, at some point, made the choice to become a parent. Sometimes the choice was made when they chose to adopt, some when they chose to marry a single parent, some when they chose to keep the child. Make no mistake, I am not talking about the sperm donor and the incubator. I am talking about when that child has left the womb. The people who take that child in their arms and take it home make the CHOICE to be a parent. This is a long term investment. This means the parent doesn’t get to grow weary of adulthood and revert to childish behaviours. This means that the parent’s job in this world, their primary mission in this life, is to raise and equip that child (and each child MUST be considered seperately, children are not clones) to be a physically, mentally, and emotionally, sound and stable adult. The child must be taught manners and they learn by watching the parent. The child should not learn prejudice, but they learn by watching the parent. The child should always believe that they are safe and secure. That nobody is more important to the parent than that child. Once that child has reached adulthood, the parent’s job is to help them fly off into the world. If the parent has done the job right in the early part of the child’s life, then into the world soars a youth that others can look to and be uplifted. Don’t get me wrong, if the job is done poorly, the child will still be looked at as a leader, but as this poorly rounded youth stumbles off into the sewers of life, he will follow the hard road. He may well make it out of the sewers and learn to soar, but does any parent want that?
Now don’t get me wrong, there is this little thing called rebellion and it happens at both ends of the spectrum. The child whose parents did it all right can CHOOSE the sewers, but that becomes the child’s choice and as an adult, the parents cannot make that choice for him. On the other side, Cinderella can choose to step out of the ashes, shake off the rags defined her, and pull her malnourished soul out of the shackles that bound her. She can look around and see the life that she was never offered and she can fight for it. Simply because somebody, at some point, looked her in the eye and saw the real human inside rather than the rags.
As the parents of adult children, the job is simple. Don’t pull them down, they are still learning how to fly. The other part is, don’t let them pull you down, life has tattered your wings enough. Sometimes, from either the side of the parent or the side of the child the pull gets to be too strong. Whichever side is being pulled must cut the strings and let the other either fall or find a draft to ride back up. The cutting is so painful, it wrenches the heart in two, but two birds, bound and tangled together will never right themselves unless they are seperated. Both will fall to earth and all will be lost. Cutting the strings may seem harsh, but at least you have the hope that the one still falling will find an updraft and you may find each other again in calmer winds.
As adults, parents and children have the opportunity to be friends. The love is already there. The only real change to the relationship is a balance of respect and trust. For those who have found that, I celebrate with you. For those still searching, and those who have given up the search, I ache with you.
My friends, Bless.