What I Want For My Kids (And The Fear That Never Goes Away)
By Chris Palmer, M.A.
I feel desperate sometimes.
The kind where I would do almost anything just to make sure they’re ok.
I think that’s the worst part of being a parent: wanting to make sure they’re always ok and knowing that sometimes you just can’t.
It’s not a lack of effort. It’s just too much ground to cover.
You can’t be everywhere.
You can’t always shield them from the world.
And you’ve got to let them fall sometimes.
If I’m honest, I hate it. Sometimes I just wish I could keep them in my fantasy world where there are no bullies, unfair teachers, self-serving coaches, or bad guys driving panel vans.
I want to keep them from being heartbroken.
And I wish I could live as long as they do.
Now I’m a big boy. I get it. It’s just part of the deal.
But the truth doesn’t make it any better. We all tend to love our kids more than we love almost anything else. And it’s beautiful.
So we try to be strong.
We watch with a bittersweet kind of happiness as we measure their growth in diapers and sippy cups and “how tall am I” pen marks on the wall.
We sift through their old clothing, holding up outfits that remind us of a smallness that once was.
And we look at pictures — so many pictures — that make us stop everything and ask ourselves how could it all go by so fast.
To me, there has never been a greater privilege.
So we try to make the most of the time we have.
Some days I just sit next to them on the couch and say nothing.
And some days they draw me pictures or ask me to watch them do something they’re proud of.
So I see cannonballs and dance moves.
Talent shows and hockey tricks.
Even hermit crabs and hamsters.
And I watch them skate and run and bike until they’re worn out.
“Daddy, watch this…”
I’ll miss those words soon enough. I’m welling up now just thinking about it.
I know you know what I mean. There will never be words that can draw a true picture of this immensity, this connection.
There’s a beautiful concept in quantum physics called entanglement. It refers to paired subatomic particles that are still somehow connected even when you separate them by great distances.
Like parents connected with their kids. We are made of some of those same particles, every one of us. And love endures and connects us.
I think my favorite thing is when they come to me out of the blue and just hug me or want to be next to me. In those moments, all the worry, fear, and concern wash away.
At least for a moment.
And all that’s left is love.
There are so many mysteries in life. So many things unanswered. And maybe that’s where the worry comes from.
But being in those moments — those special moments just being together — makes me feel so much gratitude, like it’s all going to be ok somehow.
Entangled. And humbled by the immensity of all of it…