My youngest child is almost twenty years old. Although it hardly seems that way, it’s been a long time since the dirty diapers, sleepless nights and bouts of ear infections. Still the experience of raising children while single has left an indelible impression on my life.
Sometimes I look at my sons and wonder to myself “who raised those children”? Because it’s hard to believe that all those years, amid the chaos of confused desperation, helplessness and hopelessness, came such emotionally healthy and respectful sons. I always believed that my actions and decisions would have a major impact on the lives of my kids. The consequences of my decisions were sometimes earth shattering yet positive. Other times they were life changing and downright destructive. However, I still struggle not to feel guilty about some of the choices I made. I question whether they would have turned out this way or that way if I had made another choice. But I read somewhere that “you can’t blame yourself for the actions of your children: you are not that powerful and they are not that weak”. Still I can’t help but think that when you chose the best route you know, like keeping your children safe from physical and emotional harm, life has a way of rewarding you with kindness. Kindness for me is having adult children who don’t talk back even when they really could.
Looking back, I’m grateful I had the fortitude to push through the difficult times. Thankful that I didn’t walk out the door, never to return when things got tough. Eternally grateful that I didn’t drown them in the bathtub. And know now what I’ve always hoped…that they do grow up.