When the Best of Family Makes Us Sad

TWENTY-FIRST birthday parties are as poignant as ever, as was my daughter’s recently. I look at my four living children, especially my three-year-old son, and note, with sadness, that they all grow up. The other three have proven that.

That makes me sad – that I can’t snap-freeze these kids in their development and enjoy them more. The purpose of life is that it evolves. It has to. But the by-product of life is that we do grow older and more irrelevant to our children with our years… and still, perhaps when our children relied on us most we felt we were too relevant!

I can remember being a father who wasn’t as intrinsically motivated as I am now. Being intrinsically motivated for the past dozen years doesn’t make parenting any easier. It makes it harder in that I feel what I miss. The best of family makes me sad. There was a time when family wasn’t so central and I felt less… it was easier. But I missed so much more without even realising it.

The closer we are to God, the more propensity we have to be honest, the more we wish to live for others and not ourselves, the more grief we’ll experience. It’s because being vulnerable creates intimacy, and that intimacy creates pain when the dynamics of intimacy change.

The best of family from a parent’s viewpoint involves sadness because progress in children’s lives means they inevitably move on.

It’s only when it’s too late – when our children have flown the nest – that we come to understand. It’s a hard lesson, but it helps us understand it’s love that causes the feelings of loss.

The more we love, the more we feel we lose. But we have done our job to love and that should satisfy.

Leave a Reply