Tuesday, April 14, 2009

To the Woman who Sat behind Me at Easter Mass

I heard you. I know you meant for me to hear you. I pretended not to hear, but I did hear you say to your friend, "I look at all these boys and sure they're cute, but then I think of my Jonny (not his real name) and say just she wait until they're thirteen. She'll be sorry then."

I want you to know that I don't think I will be sorry then.

I won't be sorry not because I am the perfect parent and my children will not go whichever way Jonny has gone because I have made all the right choices. I have tried to make all the right choices, but I've made mistakes in ignorance and in weakness and I expect I will make mistakes again. I don't believe in perfect parents. I do believe in parents who never give up, who pick themselves up and dust themselves off when they've made mistakes, who never stop caring, whose children are a priority, who draw deeply from within themselves and try to rise up that they might be the best they can be for their children. I have been this kind of parent and I don't expect I'll just stop when my children turn thirteen, but I know, too, that sometimes even my best just isn't good enough.

Even so, I will not be sorry.

I won't be sorry not because I know my children will sail through the teen years without a hitch. I know many teenagers who are a joy to their parents. I know several parents who claim the teen years are the best years with their children. I know these children and I know these parents personally. It does happen. I can hope for the same, but I also know that some kids just need to learn from their own mistakes and in order to do that they need to make those mistakes. My children may make mistakes. They may make mistakes that will grieve me.

Even so, I will not be sorry.

I will not be sorry because while I have invested myself in them, I know these children are not my children first. They are God's children first and the work to be completed in them is God's work. He knit them in my womb. I carried what He knit. I do not pretend to know God's plans for them or His ways, but I do know that He is stronger than sin and much bigger than all our mistakes. He descended into the deepest recesses of the darkness and He was victorious. He makes all things new. His resurrection is the reason for the hope that is within me, the reason we came to Mass on Easter day. His resurrection is the reason, whatever trials we have yet to face, I will never, ever be sorry for bringing new life into this world. Thankful, humbled, but never sorry.