I never knew it would be this hard. I thought I would be the nurturer and your dad would be the disciplinarian. I didn’t realize what an all-important, all-consuming role I would play in the development of your behaviors. And quite frankly, I don’t like this part.
I want to snuggle you, scratch your messy little head, rub your belly and your back, watch your drowsy eyes close at night. I want to be your cheerleader at games, your sneaky chef who crams protein in your growing body, your advisor on important decisions like birthday presents for friends and toys for yourself. I want to wash your clothes and your body and revel in their fresh smells after relishing their filth from a day of romping in nature. Let’s make crafts together, messes together, cookies and dinner together. Let’s clean up and organize together. Let’s just enjoy being together.
Don’t bring discipline into it. Please.
I don’t want to fuss at you, correct you, reprimand you or punish you. I truly don’t want to. I hate that part of us. I hate (a word that I don’t like to use at all) seeing your glowering face, hearing your mean retorts, watching you plug your ears or refuse to listen to me. It hurts me so deeply. Those times hurt more than the pains that brought you into this world.
But I know that as much as I despise this now, I would despise even more the child you would become without discipline. As much as I dislike our feuds now, I know they would be intolerable if we don’t get these boundaries established now. What would middle school be like with no ground rules laid? You…driving with friends if you had no appreciation for others? Dating …if you had no respect for your mom? You would be a wretch! I’ve known plenty of people like that and I desperately don’t want you to become one.
I want you to be polite, respectful, and kind. I want you to esteem others the way you esteem yourself. I want compassion to be your first instinct. I want you to grow farther than you think you can. I want you to leap over those obstacles you will encounter and not even consider turning away from them. I want more for you than you can even imagine for yourself, but you will never be that person by getting your way all the time. You won’t develop character and confidence if you don’t learn about boundaries and limits. Quite often there are many ‘no’s’ before you will find even one ‘yes’. You must understand this awful truth about your upcoming life.
I wish you could grasp the notion of how deeply I hate our confrontations…and how deeply I love you. Someday, when you can read, and when your egocentrism has waned, I will probably let you read this and hope that you can begin to see my side of this relationship. But it probably won’t really be until you are enduring this with your own child that you will know what I’m feeling now.
I love you so much.