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I Loved You Enough

"You don't love me!" How many times have your kids laid that one on you? Someday when my children are old enough to understand the logic motivation a mother, I'll tell them:

  • I loved you enough to bug you about where you were going and what time you would get home.
  • I loved you enough to let you discover your friend was a creep.
  • I loved you enough to stand over you for two hours while you cleaned your bedroom, a job that would have taken me 15 minutes.
  • I loved you enough to ignore what every other mother did or said.
  • I loved you enough to let you stumble, fall, hurt and fail.
  • I loved you enough to accept you for what you are, not what I wanted you to be.
  • Most of all, I loved you enough to say no when you hated me for it.

Some mothers don't know when their job is finished. They figure the longer the kids hang around, the better parents they are.

I see children as kites. You spend a lifetime trying to get them off the ground. You run with them until you're both breathless...they crash...you add a longer tail. You patch and comfort, adjust and teach-and assure them that someday they will fly.

Finally they are airborne, but they need more string, and you keep letting it out. With each twist of the ball of twine, the kite becomes more distant. You know it won't be long before that beautiful creature will snap the lifeline that bound you together and soar-free and alone. Only then do you know you did your job.

Erma Bombeck, from "Forever, Erma,? quoted in Reader's Digest, March 1997, p. 148