“I was prepared for the hurts I could fix. The ones that call for a kiss and cuddle, listening, a back rub, and even the ones that require me to advocate for my child and push for the support they need in resources. The skinned knees and learning support and small rejections.
I wasn’t prepared for the hurts I couldn’t fix.
The hurts that change you. That shape you. The ones that leave a footprint on your very being.
Those are the ones I wasn’t prepared for.
Because I thought I could protect my child well enough that they wouldn’t happen.
Then, they did anyway.
A grandparent that never showed up. A trusted big person who took advantage of them. A friend who got cancer and died. A betrayal by another friend that cut them off and left them isolated. Becoming someone’s scapegoat. A parental illness that pushed them to grow up too quickly.
For all of us and our children, it may look different, but it happens. Very few of us are untouched.
Yet, I was unprepared. For my little ones pain I couldn’t fix. Even more so as they grew.
With little ones, even big little ones, the hurts they usually encounter are so passing. Even when it is friend heartbreak and the end of friendships. They are resilient, yes, and so when we realized we needed more support for them, they responded well.
But with teens… it is different. They manage those passing hurts so well on their own by then, that you don’t hear about them as much. And when they do tell you, they usually have a pretty good handle on things and just want to run it by you or tell you about it.
Their real hurts? They’re big. So much bigger. Coming to terms with the death or a dream, identifying toxic or abusive behaviors in those they care about, heartbreak and betrayal that is real heartbreak and betrayal, being the one who screwed up and questioning their own character, a friend hurting themselves, a friend without a safe place to sleep, a friend who isn’t sure about living any more, etc. That sort of thing. Big things. Pain that can’t be cuddled away, or moved on from in day. Pain that has to be felt, processed, and walked through. And as parents, you can’t do much that will help alleviate it. You can’t offer a kiss and hug and help them take a deep breath to clear their head, and then they’re ready to move on.
I wasn’t ready for that.
I’m still not.
It isn’t something you really navigate. It is theirs to navigate. My job is to support, listen, and sit with them. For the big ones, if they want suggestions and advice, I can offer it, but they don’t ever have to take it.
I wasn’t prepared for that.
With unconditional love and support, they can navigate it though. They are equipped when we are patient with the process, advocate where we can, and for those older ones, give them space to tap into their own power and execute the steps they need to take.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jessica and Jeremy Martin-Weber of We’re All Human Here. Follow We’re All Human Here on Instagram here. The article originally appeared here. Submit your story here, and be sure to subscribe to our best love stories here.
Read more stories from Jessica and Jeremy here:
‘She came to us asking why she felt so much anger. Jeremy gave her a hammer. The slightest thing sets her off, boiling just under the surface.’: Daughter ‘relieved to know she wasn’t alone’ after parents help her to ‘release anger safely’
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