As you may or may not know, I am the mother of three very wonderful children. I am daily, often many, many, many times daily, awed by the wonder that makes up these three little people. As often as I am reminded of their awesomeness, I am reminded of just how short I fall of being the parent they deserve. I freely admit to being overwhelmed by the great task that is before me. It's not enough to just provide food and shelter. I take very seriously the scripture's admonition to train up a child in the way he should go. I am to teach them, to ready them, to prepare them to leave me, to be husbands, wife, mother, fathers, uncles, aunt, friends, employee and boss. Beyond the physical needs, I am to look to their emotional well being. I will be honest, that part keeps me up at night.
It is very important to me that my children know, I mean know down to their bones, that I love them. I want that fact to never be doubted, never questioned. I want them to easily remember things that prove that very thing to them, not just me saying it or showing physical affection, but actions that scream it so loud it cannot be missed. When they think of me I don't care if they think I'm smart or pretty or cool or fun, I want them to think "she loves me". I thought they did.
Last night my middle child, my oldest son, my most tender hearted and considerate, told me he felt like I did not love him. He said it first in an emotional outburst, the like of which I have never witnessed in him. I could almost chalk that up to hormones. He is nearly thirteen and has been growing and changing a lot lately. I really don't want to use the word puberty with him. I'm just not ready. I could have written it off to a phase or a bad day but later when he was calm he asked if he could talk to me. (I have to note the tears in my eyes at this moment. His maturity in asking to speak to me privately just amazes me) We went into my room to talk. During the course of the conversation I asked him if he really felt like I felt less for him than his siblings. He could not look me in the eye or answer. He was unwilling at first to tell me yes because I suspect he would not want me to feel bad. That is just how my boy is, he always puts everyone else first. Last week he came to my room after dinner to thank me for cooking even though I felt so bad. He is such a beautiful person, so giving of love, I am heartsick to think he does not feel it in return.
I apologized to him, hugged him, told him how much I do love him, listed all the many things that he does that make my life not just easier but joyous. I tried to express to him what he means to me but I suspect that understanding will only come with time and a concentrated effort and perhaps the arrival of his own children one day. I am sad but he has told me what he needs. I am so thankful that he could tell me. Now its up to me, to find the actions that will define the words spoken last night, that will dispel the sad thought that he feels is his truth.