What have I done?
“If I die tomorrow, will they be able to survive? Do basic functions like wash their dirty glass after drinking milk?”
I realized the other night that I am failing my children miserably. (Maybe this is an exaggeration, but it feels that way. Am I alone here?
My daughter was practicing the piano, and after a few failed attempts at a song from Peter Pan, I heard sobbing coming from the music room. I went in to see what was going on, and she stated to me that she wanted to quit piano (this is when I turned into my father).
“You are not a quitter!” I demanded. “You are just upset because you haven’t practiced.” *insert more sobbing here.
Then she asked me for my help. And by help, she wanted me to play the song so she could re-play it by ear. But I was on to her game, so I started quizzing her on notes. She was so upset, she got them all wrong. I left.
I walked into my bedroom, put on my bathing suit, and went into the pool. As I walked outside, she was waiting for me asking me for help. I told her, “My parents never helped me learn the piano, you learn it on your own.”
I kinda feel bad about that last part, but this scenario made me realize I do every damned thing for them. It’s time to stop!
She went into the house in tears while I floated away in the water. That’s when it hit me. At their age, my parents were both working (my mom had to go back to work). We were the epitome of latchkey kids. Riding the bus home from school, making sure someone had a key to get in the house. If we forgot the key, we would walk to my aunt’s house, or rig the kitchen window in the back of the house and push someone through the window so they could unlock the doors. We took food out of the freezer for my mom so she could prepare dinner when she came home from work. We did our homework on our own – no one was telling us how to do anything. And I like to think I turned out pretty o.k. We were survivors.
It sounds kind of harsh to say that I’m failing miserably as a parent. We all do what we can, and no one can fault us for doing our best. But I feel that I have to start watching them suffer in order to make them survivors. It hurts. It’s painful to watch sometimes.
But I have to do it. I’ll manage and maneuver my way through the pain if it means creating better, more self-sufficient human beings in the long run. I’ve got to let them fail in order to succeed in life.
I just wrote about my failure as a parent. I’m learning everyday. Now that I’m aware of the failure, I’m ready for the success.