Teenagers. I was one once, not so very long ago. I remember my angst, my raging hormones, and my shitty attitude as if it were yesterday. I remember thinking my friends were my "real" family and that my actual family was just this horrid group of people who were put in my life by some terrible cosmic accident, with the sole purpose of making my life miserable. I remember the absolute hell I dragged my parents through on pretty much a daily basis. I remember thinking that I was in the right in regard to everything I did, and that these idiot adults, who had the audacity to call themselves my parents, were forever in the wrong. Because, really, what the hell did they know anyway?! They obviously didn't give two shits about me. And to top it off they were old for Christ's sake! Therefore they were totally incapable understanding me.
And then I grew up.
And then I had kids.
And when that happened everything inside of me: my whole world, my thinking, my view of every single thing I thought I knew... well, it changed.
Life was no longer all about me. In fact, my part in the equation of my life had become both minimal and enormous in one fell swoop. My wants, dreams, and needs fell secondary to those of my children. I became the advocate, provider, protector, caretaker, counselor, and nurturer to these three small beings I had so lovingly created. My heart had left my tough, armored body and was now moving about in this scary world in the form of my children... vulnerable to all the unspeakable hurts and heartaches this treacherous world has to offer.
And not only that, but as they grew from helpless babes, to sweet toddlers, to precocious children, and then to rebellious teenagers, something else happened... It was no longer the outside world I had to worry about crushing my heart. It was my hearts themselves. Without realizing it, or even meaning to, they had found a thousand and one ways to pummel it to a pulp.
And yet, in spite of the almost constant pummeling they dole out, my love for them has never wavered. Not even for a second. Of course they do not realize this. They're simply not capable of realizing this. They will never be able to understand the absolute FACT of my love for them.
Until they have children of their own.
Age, time, and the trials I've gone through with my own children have given me the wisdom to understand, and even cope with, this vicious part of the circle of life. And so I don't fault them for their lack of and incapability of understanding. If anything it gives me a deeper patience toward them... and a greater love and never-ending gratitude for my own parents.
I know in my heart that one day, in the near future, they will hold their own crying babes in their arms and think of me soothing them to sleep. They will wipe the tears from their toddlers eyes after a bad dream and remember how I did the same for them. They will laugh at the follies of their children and recall the many times that I laughed with them at their own childhood highjinks. And one day, when they are up late at night, worried to the very core of their beings about their own wayward teenagers, they will think back to those tumultuous times, and an undying gratitude and love for me will swell within their hearts.
Then they will finally grasp the extent of my love for them.