As parents we sometimes love to joke about how “special” kids can be. We even occasionally bitch about parenting. That’s normal. Parenting can at times be as much fun as herpes. Not that I have the herp, but I hear it sucks. It tends to flare up and recede, much like the difficulties of parenthood. Also, both are also preventable from spreading with a little precaution.
But then there are times when you gain a little perspective. You hear someone’s story or you watch a touching movie and–bam–emotional sucker punch. There’s really nothing like gaining perspective to bring you back to reality.
Admittedly, I can’t even begin to count how many times I’ve felt annoyed or exasperated with one of my kids. (My dad seemed constantly exasperated with me as a kid and I think it took root.) I sometimes fall into the trap of letting my kids feel like an intrusion on my day. Dad, Dad, Daddy, Daddy, DADDY… What?! I wanted to tell you that (insert inane, decidedly non-urgent fact here). Great, grand, wonderful–thanks for sharing–I’m so glad to know that…
I think we’re all guilty of it at times. But how often do we take a step back, look at things from outside ourselves–aside from our egos–and really take inventory of our family’s awesomeness? How often do we truly appreciate the beauty in our children and see them as an integrated blessing in our daily lives rather than an intrusion on our time? I don’t know about you, but I could stand to do it more often.
I’d love for you to think of the next eight minutes as an investment and watch this video, even if you’ve already seen it. I saw this video yesterday morning and had to share it on my Facebook page. As a parent and a music therapist, it hits me hard. This here’s a real sucker punch to the emotional kidney.
Did you watch it? Can you imagine abandoning your child at the age of three? Maybe they didn’t want him, or worse, maybe they simply couldn’t keep him and it wrenched their guts to leave him at an orphanage. And the thought of that poor little kid, selling gum on the streets in front of night clubs… I know this crap happens a lot more than we think about, but this kid right here, this kid with a voice full of potential, this kid with the soft-spoken demeanor of someone who doesn’t find a lot of worth in himself, this kid with a dream–this kid with a name and no family to speak it, a face and no family to touch it, and a voice and no family to hear it: this kid deserves as much love as the next, yet probably has never been told “I love you.” He’s probably never been tucked in at night and kissed on the forehead. He may not ever have been read to and cuddled. He’s probably never been tickled until he couldn’t breathe.
I can’t even begin to imagine the heartache I would feel if one of my little ones were left to fend for themselves like this kid was. Calling it unjust is a gross understatement. Yet he has a dream. This is another great example of adversity building character. Even the judge chokes out the words, “I just want to give you a hug,” between sobs. I wanted to tell him, simply, “thank you.”
If we let them, these little reality checks can have a long-lasting and profound effect on us. Will I remember this video clip forever? Probably not. But as for tonight, I’m going to listen to my kids a little more intently, squeeze them a little more tightly, and love them a little more wholeheartedly because they deserve it.
And because I can.