Article by Wendy mcCance
When I began thinking about having children, I pictured the idyllic life for my kids that you love to read about but rarely see. I wanted the kids to have a carefree childhood full of special happy moments. I wanted the kids to feel loved and cared for in a way that would make them feel safe, secure and completely nurtured. I definitely didn’t want them to be touched by any worries that only an adult should have to face. I was in a bad marriage and had a horrible divorce, my entire wish for my kids blew up in my face.
As I write this, I am choking up and have tears in my eyes. For years now I have not been able to completely get over the loss of the dream I had for my kids. It still hurts my heart terribly and the healing has been a slow process, if sometimes a stalled one. I have written about adversity and about how it can actually strengthen your resolve and bring you more success. Trust me when I tell you I have seen this process happen first hand with the kids.
After spending this last weekend with their father, I was told some horrific stories about the way they had been treated. It was emotional not physical, but awful and painful to hear. Lets just say that there was manipulation, put downs and bullying to the point of making the kids break down and cry. It’s just a situation that breaks my heart because I am powerless to change the parenting arrangement at this time. Truly, this is so far from what I could ever possibly envision for my children that I am devastated by it.
There is an unexpected result from all of this trauma. My kids are smart, resilient and (I know this doesn’t make sense) but, confident kids I know. You would think that they would be broken by some of the experiences they have had. The most amazing thing is that they have learned how to deal with a variety of extreme personalities and now a lot of what they are confronted with rolls off their back. They honestly get that it is another person and not them who has some instability which is incredible. They are go-getters who are popular, very active in a variety of activities and take school work incredibly seriously. These are good-hearted kids who don’t walk around with hostility, but have gentle souls and search out those that they can nurture and make feel good about themselves.
If I could see into the future before the kids were born and had a choice between hard times that produced remarkably strong, confident kids or an easy childhood knowing there would be some struggle as they got up to speed on the ways of the world, I would probably choose the second choice. I want them to have it all, but I would be willing for them to struggle a little adjusting to the world out there over being ripped off of the carefree childhood that I think each person is entitled to. You are only a kid once and you can never get that time back.
I am constantly being complimented on how wise and grown-up the kids are. They are often called old souls because of the way they understand so much for being so young. This is the comment that breaks my heart every time I hear it. Sure I’m beyond proud of them, but it’s what got them to this place that should never have been part of their life. They are children, not adults and I don’t celebrate the maturity they show, but mourn it.
In the end though, the kids are doing really well in the face of adversity. Their future looks good and I believe they will have many successes to celebrate. As for me, who knows what the other side of the coin could have been like. I only got to see their lives played out one way. I am grateful that even though my kids are still relatively young, they are strong and teach me amazing things each day.
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