How true is this? I haven’t heard this quote like this before but it makes so much sense to me. One would think that at home, where you are most loved, most respected, most welcome, you’d be your best too. But you aren’t because you are also most comfortable there, most relaxed. You know that at home love is strong and your family loves you for who you are. With all the good and all the bad you have to offer. You know that when you have a bad day, they may be upset, but you’ll be forgiven. You have trust and faith in your family that they can handle you and all of your emotions. You are at ease with letting down your everyday guard while we expect our parents and siblings and even our children to understand.
There is beauty to be found in both. In the annoyance that is what appears to be rude behavior and in the trust that is displayed in you or rather home. Let me explain.
I know I haven’t been the perfect child growing up or even now. I do my best with what I have and was given. What I have always been given by my family is love. They may not always agree with my choices and they judge and gripe like every other family would but in the end, they have always had love, trust and faith that I will succeed somehow, someway. We have stories to tell, laughs to share, tears to be dried and we most definitely have & had our share of arguments.
But I can be who I am with my family.
Fast forward to my family – my husband and my children. My husband was also very fortunate to grow up in a home where he was given unconditional love, and he will tell you that even he made mistakes and hasn’t been perfect. That’s okay, because we are human and by nature we make mistakes. We have 3 children. 2 girls from my previous marriage and his son. They live with us full time and are loved beyond measure. I can’t express how much these 3 really mean to me and I don’t think they’ll ever understand, just like I’ll never understand how much I mean to my parents.
Inherently we want to please, want to make our family and parents proud and happy. We strive for perfection and when we can’t achieve it, we get frustrated and lash out. Well, not all the time but it happens. Each of these 3 miracles is different and each of them faces their own, unique set of challenges in life. Sometimes, it’s frustrating as a mom to see how beautiful your child is – inside and out – but they can’t see it. No matter how much you show them, no matter how many times you tell them, they just can’t see it in moments they feel despair, sadness or anger. When they grow up and they have to learn how choices affect their life, external and personal choices. They are faced with emotions they have to learn to handle and as parents, we can only guide them and live as an example. I can only give them different tools and ways to work through issues and feelings while I have to watch them make their choices and push through their problems at hand.
When You Love (A Lot)
Sometimes, when you love them so much and they act their worst with you it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that in reality home is where they should feel safe to act out. To test and experiment with emotions and behaviors. It’s easy to get upset and think that you’ve failed as a parent or didn’t do everything you could have when they yell and call you the worst parent ever, when they refuse to do homework and when they just melt down over silly things. When they get bad grades after you’ve told them a million times to study, when they ignore your rules again. But I’ve come to realize that as long as it’s not out of control, and your children still remember their manners in public and are growing up and get kudos for being awesome kids, you did it right.
Between our special needs son, our mini politician with no filter and our teen going on opinionated rants, we always have someone who acts their worst.
The girls have their share of moments where I question my ability as a parent. Sometimes I think I am too soft, I give in to easy, and other times I wonder if I am too strict, with too many rules and expectations. But by god, when my oldest reprimands me for saying “Shit” in a passionate moment or scolds me for eating peanuts even though I am allergic, I just get frustrated too. Or when my baby girl corrects me giving time – “It’s 9 o’clock, you should be in bed” “It’s not 9.. it’s 8.57pm”, when they sneak the cookies in their room and when their room looks like SHIT (yes, I said it) because they’d rather goof than clean it, I get mad. Because I too, have my worst moments at home. I want them to succeed so bad, to be great in what they do, to grow up into these amazing people I know they can be.
When They Act Their Worst
But they can act the worst, at home. People never believe how bad it can be because in public, my kids are awesome. But there is a saying that as long as they are polite and respectful in public, you did your job well.
It’s tough. When they act their worst despite or rather because you love them so much, when it hurts your heart and soul to see them behave that way.
Especially our son who has to fight through mood disorders and attachment issues. He will flat out refuse to do anything we say and then be rude about it. But after 5 years, I’ve learned that with me he feels safe. He said so. He said that he can act with me that way and be his worst because I love him regardless and because I’d never leave him. That’s pretty powerful if you think about it. He has been the worst kid you can imagine. He cussed, he hit, he hurt me, he screamed, he cried, he tore his room apart, he threw his toys away, he hated me, he wished me dead. But through all of this, I have loved him. I have been angry and sad and disappointed, but I loved him regardless. He makes me furious when he is actively defiant for no other reason than to start a fight. But I am here for him. In my own way.
Love Is Patient
One night when I sat in his room with him, when he was acting his worst. Throwing toys, screaming, calling me names, hating the world and everyone in it, with all of his hate and despair spewing at me like a 100 mph train on a collision course, I looked at him and said listen, just for a few minutes. I want to share a quote with you. I want you to pay attention and hear me. Hear what I have to say:
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
He heard me! He truly did. I didn’t think it would sink it but something about this quote stuck with him. Especially the patient part. And the protects, trust and perseveres parts. He will come up now, when he has bad days and say I should stop, you love me. You just wait for me to get better but you love me. You are patient.
That’s right my child. I am patient. I may be pissed and angry at your behavior and I will stick to the consequences till the bitter end. But I am patient. And I do love you – even at your worst.