There's something about the mystery of children that I love. Now I know some of you are saying, "mystery? What are you talking about? Kids are as transparent as puppies!" And maybe that's it. They are undying in their devotion, can't get enough of their mother's love and attention, and no matter how many times she yells at them, they remain unfazed and attached.
This, of course, only adds to the gobs of guilt that moms get to carry home, along with their baby, when they leave the hospital. One would think that, as we become more proficient in our roles as parents, the guilt would begin to dissipate. One would be wrong.
This guilt grows as our children grow, magnifying our imperfections like the flourescent lights in a women's changing room. Sometimes it's brought on when they cry over something we've said to them, like, "no." Conversely, it's also brought on when they accept what we say blindly, demonstrating their faith and trust in us, thus leaving us to our late-night brooding sessions (to replace the sleepless nights we had when they were babies), the ones in which we wonder endlessly whether we are damaging our children for life, and how much.
Even when we are acting with love, we blow it. Take today for instance. I wanted to blog about my kids' unending well of love, and the wonderful Valentine's Day card Ben made for me. I decided to take a picture of it to post with this entry. He heard the camera clicking and came in to the room asking, "Mom, what are you doing?"
"I'm taking a picture," I said, realizing at that moment that I may be doing something that wouldn't be well-received.
"Of WHAT?" he asked as he got closer. There was no hiding now.
"Of the beautiful Valentine's Day card that you made for me!" I said cheerily.
The tears started flowing and he cried out about what a terrible thing I had done. I had read it before Valentine's Day, and now it was 'ruined' and Ben would have to make a whole new one. And this one had taken him "like, FIFTY minutes to make!"
I tried to soothe him with, "It's OK, Honey, it's for my blog!" but he was completely uninterested in my motives.
Sigh. I swallowed my guilt, apologized and offered him some pink construction paper, glue and glitter in the hopes of inspiring some creativity (and yes, distracting him from his dismay).
It worked, he seems unscathed, and a new Valentine has been created, even before dinner is ready. Perhaps it's just youthful innocence, short attention span or a love of art. But I prefer to think of it as more evidence of that undying love which, guilt aside, will always remain a mystery to me.