Saturday, September 4, 2010

Happier Days

We were so lucky when our sons were children. The problems were small and solvable. They were healthy and strong and intelligent, and although exasperating at times like we all are, mostly a joy and fun to be with. I can look back on those times now and marvel that though I was often tired out, I was also happy, and I miss those days.

I often told my sons that it was much easier to be a mother to children than to grown sons, because my role in that past was clearly defined. Even if I made mistakes, I knew I was supposed to be responsible for them, to take care of them, advise them, teach them, and the problems I faced were manageable, though not always easy.

When they become adults, living their own lives, it's so much harder, not knowing when to give advice or opinions or when to intervene . . . when I didn't, they asked me why I hadn't; when I did, they did not welcome it or follow my advice, and often I really had none to give because I didn't KNOW what was best for them and didn't want to say the wrong thing. Leif would deny his depression or the depth of his indebtedness when I did ask him about it. He wanted to keep his problems to himself and try to solve them on his own. That would have been admirable and manly, had he been able to do it. He did try, but in the end was overwhelmed.

I look at this photo, taken in the Irwin Army Community Hospital at Fort Riley, Kansas (where Leif was born) when he was only two days old, and remember how glad I was to have him, how happy he was mine. I'm glad I didn't know then I would only have him for 33 years, and how sad his adult life would be.

Beware of wanting to know the future. It's best that we don't.

Photo taken on January 30, 1975

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