What would you do for your child? What wouldn't you do? Can you answer that question? Can you find the line--the one you wouldn't cross?
On first glance, I'd say that I'd do anything for my child. Even kill, if I had to, provided I was defending my child and the case warranted those actions. I'd also give my life for any one of those children if I had to: I'd rush into an ocean and save them; I'd push them out of the way of a speeding car; I'd do anything I had to do in order to keep them on this side of the living.
And each day, I perform the smaller (much smaller, thankfully) tasks that indicate how much I love them: I pick up the toys that I certainly didn't leave on the floor; I buy the shampoo they prefer; I help with their homework and make sure they have bacon on their birthdays. I do these things, selflessly, because I love my children. That's all there is to it.
When I was a child, I wondered, often, if there was something my mother wouldn't do for me. Despite any issues I have with her, I do remember her saying that, as a mother, you do what you have to for your child. But as I've grown older, I realize that how you feel when your child is young might be different from how you feel when your child is an adult. The child used to be dependant upon you for so many things, but years later, you've done your job, right? You can back away and assist when necessary, but the dependence no longer exists. So then, I have to ask myself, When the kids are older and have flown the coop, will I feel the same way?
I can't say with confidence that my answer would be yes, but I'd like to think so. But I suspect that with time, comes a complexity for which I will not be ready. The times will change, and it will no longer be a question of buying the proper brand of shampoo or making sure the clothes are clean. Instead, we'll have moved onto bigger and far deeper ways of showing my love: being a good support system, visiting when I'm able, revealing health issues that might directly affect my children.
Yeah, that's right. I'm throwing that last one in there because I'm on the side of full disclosure. I think it is important for my children to know that their maternal grandfather is diabetic and that their paternal great-grandfather had heart issues. That their maternal great-grandmother suffered from dementia, their maternal grandmother has Alzheimer's, and that depression is rooted deeply across our families.
We talk about all those issues right now, so I'm hoping the lines of communication will stay patent and unmuddled. But I think to myself these days, what if Mom had actually taken herself seriously? What if she'd still subscribed to the belief that you do what you have to for your child? Had she still held that belief even a decade ago, would she have stopped smoking sooner? Would she have visited the doctor for her memory loss earlier? Would she have taken care of years of depression that might very well have impacted her brain? I can't say. I can't even speculate. And sadly, Mom is too far gone to be able to understand what I mean even if I did ask her.
So, I'm left wondering--something I really hope I don't do for those children I purport to love so much.