As a mother I spend an extraordinary amount of time worrying about my kids' well-being. Are they happy? Are they healthy? Do they feel loved?
As a soldier of the mom army, I voluntarily enlisted to protect and serve my children for all the days of my life. Sure, that's the job I signed up for, but there are days when my worry for them is all-consuming. Days when small worries become larger-than-life fears. Days when I wonder who growing up is harder on -- me or them.
I could easily draft a lengthy list of fears that I have for my kids, but when I really stop to examine them, I begin to realize that maybe these fears are nothing more than the challenging life experiences they need most to become strong, intentional, courageous individuals.
Allow me to focus on four of my greatest fears for my sons and why it may be time to let them go:
Unhappiness: While the definition of happiness is surely subjective, I worry for the day when my kids lose grasp of self-satisfaction and positivity. But logic reminds us a little rain must fall in every life, and as an unparalleled motivator for change, unhappiness has the power to force my children to stop and reevaluate choices they've made and the directions they're heading so they can get back to what defines their personal happiness.
Poor health: I've worried about the health of my children from the moment they took their first breath and I'll continue until the moment I take my last, but healthy habits and a positive outlook are the only tools we have in maintaining good health. I suppose since regular heaping doses of worry are proven to do more harm than good, I'll instead focus on serving as an example of healthy living and positivity.
Failure: There's nothing more heartbreaking than watching your kid pour their heart and soul into something only to fail. But life is full of failures big and small, and it's what we learn from those failures that strengthen character and ultimately yield personal triumphs. Do I wish for my kids to fail? Of course not. What I do wish for are opportunities for lessons to be learned.
Heartbreak: Every heart may be tender, but young hearts are even more so. If I could hold my sons' fragile hearts in my hands, I'd shield them from every discomfort and pain imaginable. Unfortunately, love takes practice and their delicate hearts will be practiced on and hurt because they have to be before they're strong enough to persevere and wise enough to choose better.
If the greatest fears I have for my sons are nothing more than uncomfortable life experiences, perhaps they ought to be recognized for all the enlightenment they can bring. If I've done my job as a mother, I've given my kids the tools and support they need to not only face these inevitable life experiences, but come out on the other side better off for them.
Mommyfriend goes by Lori Garcia in real life and is a Shine Parenting Guru. She writes at www.mommyfriend.com where she's busy finding perfection in imperfection daily. When she's not fussing with her bangs, she's shaking her groove thing for Babble.com.