“A mother who is really a mother is never free.” ~ Honoré de Balzac
My guess is that there aren’t too many parents out there who haven’t spent at least a few passing moments fearing that they just aren’t up to the job. I know I’ve certainly done my share of wondering where I messed up and how I could’ve done things better. Most times I simply have to remind myself that there was never a moment that I didn’t do the best I knew how to do at the time, and accept that there really isn’t much more than that to do.
Of course, I really have these moments of self-doubt at times when my son is facing any sort of difficulty in his life, particularly if it’s difficulty that he has either brought on himself or is somehow exacerbating. Those are the times when I think perhaps I somehow didn’t prepare him adequately, or led him astray in some way. But the truth is, it’s only my opinion that he might have caused or exacerbated his own problems, and I naturally have advice on ways to resolve difficult situations. He frequently doesn’t agree with me, or at least doesn’t take my advice on how to fix things. There are many times when it becomes painfully clear that we share a different world view on some key issues. And even though that hurts sometimes, and even though I may remain convinced he’s not making good decisions, I have to recognize that he knows how to disagree with me because I spent his whole life trying to make sure he understood the importance of thinking for himself. There are times I wish he hadn’t learned that lesson quite so well, and that I could simply tell him what to do and he’d blindly obey, but I know that would be doing him a disservice. So I will continue to worry that perhaps I haven’t done as well as I might have hoped in the parenting department, and I will worry that my son may not always be taking the best path for his life, but I will try to cling to the idea that at least he’s following a path that he had the strength to choose for himself.