Charles Dickens said, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Parenting is the easiest and the toughest job. Easy because it works on mutual love and instinctual care but tough because a single mistake can cause lifelong scars.
With that said, these are things that my child will never understand:
Sexual abuse: I am a product of sexual abuse that started at a very young age until I was 13 years old. I fortunately have a powerful God that kept me from becoming a statistic. I used it to make me an independent and strong person and not a victim. It also taught me a great deal of compassion and empathy to people. I will wear the cape and mask for my child and he will never know nor understand what I went through.
I will say this once, I will go to jail for my child! There would be no trial or jail time for the perpetrator. There is no tolerance!
Emotional abuse: The joke was I was a suitcase. You never knew who was going to want me next and where I would live. I took it in stride and always believed my parents loved me, they were just having a hard time themselves dealing with life. My Nana was and still is my rock and without her I have no idea where I would be. She kept me in church and instilled values in me. She explained that even though I felt alone in the world my heavenly father always had me in his embrace. I carried this through my life and to this day know that I am loved.
16 schools in a 13 year school life: Because I was moved around a lot I attended 16 schools (that I know of). Somehow, I graduated with honors and put myself through college. I have a fantastic career and I believe that moving as much as I did taught me important communication skills. My husband laughs because he says I could start up a conversation with a stop sign. Everywhere we go I tend to chat with strangers. I tell him you never know who God has put you in front of and what benefit either person can receive.
Divorce: I pray our child will always have two loving parents that remain married long after he has left the house. That we will be an example of what a relationship is supposed to be and when he starts dating, Lord help me, he will know the way to treat a woman. He will also know what to not put up with no matter how much he thinks he loves someone.
Don’t get me wrong my childhood wasn’t all terrible. When I was 13 years of age my mom remarried and in a sense my stepdad became my path to normalcy. We still moved often because he was military but it was planned and not sporadic as before. Our house became a home full of love and a true family unit.
My parents are both aware of the things that I endured and have apologized and wish things would have been different. I am thankful for the relationship that I have with both of them even though it will never be whole. They unfortunately will never fully know me. My mom does more so than my dad but she has taken the time to want to have a relationship with me now. I pray I raise my child in a way that he knows he can always come to me for anything no matter how “bad” he may think it is. I will be present in his life and want nothing but the best for him.
I am no expert on parenting but I have learned lessons from my own childhood. As a parent, my biggest duty is to instill confidence and emotional security in my child. I am to protect him at all costs as this is the job God has given me.
Some of the world’s gravest problems can be solved if we raise emotionally secure and well-loved children. The first step is to learn from our own childhoods and not repeat the same mistakes that were made in the past.
And I intend to do just that!