The butterfly affect, a life lesson for our children.
Every parent wonders if they guide their children on the correct life path. Kids stumble and lose their way. Any parent will tell you this is painful to watch. There are times my kids will do something and I wonder if they were raised by a lawless tribe of Aborigines.
My children are teenagers now and they are at the point of finding their way in life. This phase of childhood isn’t for a parent faint-of-heart. I feel like standing under a tree with a pillow, as my fledglings test their wings.
We won’t talk about me earning my flight feathers! Thankfully I was as graceful as a swan and bounced off a dewdrop on my way down. Perfection, just ask my father!
The hardest part is these little fledglings don’t have all of their flight feathers, yet they manage to build them after they leap out of the nest. Sometimes all I can do is hope they bounce when they land. Often the landing is rough, but I just hope next time they have learned to adjust their flight plan.
When we raise children, we often forget how important our task really is. We interfere when we shouldn’t and our kids don’t learn what they were supposed to. How can our kids learn to fly if we don’t ever let them try or allow a rough landing?
The best saying I’ve ever heard and repeated through my gnashed teeth is this. Our job as parents is to get our children ready for the road, not the road for the child. Best advice ever, right? If we always clear obstacles out of their way, how will they learn to be a well-adjusted adult?
There are many critical life lessons we all need to learn, but a very important one is someday, your child will marry. To have the best chance at fulfilling relationships kiddos need guidance from a very young age. If you want their spouses to love you, get on top of their crap, pronto!
There are so many life skills you can teach your children from a young age. Have them help you cook, clean, and God knows they can volunteer to help others. Compassion, one of the best gifts you can give your chid.
Now I am 40 years old. Life has been kind and life has been harsh. I have been married to the love-of-my-life for 6 years and is one of the best decisions I have ever made. I truly love this man more with every passing year.
A few years back I was “diagnosed” with a disease many have never heard of. It is called Trigeminal Neuralgia, or I would love to tear my damn face of because the nerve pain is so bad. The trigeminal nerve runs through each side of the face, splitting into 3 separate branches.
My left side trigeminal nerve is said to be affected and the sheath of the nerve is rubbed off by a blood vessel that is sitting on my nerve. We’re still skeptical of this being my real diagnosis. Whatever the case is, it is intense. Raw nerve pain, let me tell ya, it’s like jumper cables hooked up to your teeth. It loves to come when it damn well pleases. Something as mundane as a kiss to the face, a breeze on my cheek can cause plus ten pain.
I am not writing this to complain about my pain, hang with me a moment longer. I am writing to tell my husband’s parents what I really think of them and their son, now that we have gone through better-or-worse. A lesson that guides me as I raise my own little fledglings.
Steve and Kathy,
I know we talked just earlier this morning, but I have some things I think you should know about your son, Drew. Sometimes as parents we wonder if we did the job of raising our kids correctly.
Kathy, remember all those times you had little, chubby hands helping you when you baked and made Thanksgiving dinner? Those hands are now the hands of a man that helps his wife cook dinner when pain strikes her down.
Steve, do you remember the times you told your son to respect women? My husband holds me above all others and is my complete partner in every sense of the word. He has held my hand through health scares of the worst kind.
You both taught him a kindness of heart many don’t begin to possess. What kind of man steps in and takes on a ready-made family of a wife and 2 kids, your son did. He has never treated me and the girls as anything but his.
All of those games you played with him and stories you read are now passed on to the girls. I imagine you will never forget all the years of Boy Scouts? Drew coached soccer for the youngest daughter, Ahna, when he was only signed up to volunteer.
Steve, your son watched you as you were a partner to your wife. Little eyes took in scenes of struggle, triumph, health scares, and the things life throws at us all. Today, that same boy is a well-adjusted man that guides his family through bad weather. He is my safe place in a storm. I know you are aware of this just because he remains close to you.
Kathy, he learned from you the love you have for your family and how much you give. He learned to see you as a person, and not an object. One of the many reasons I love him is his utmost respect.
Now for the things you don’t know.
For whatever reason, life has chosen to deal us some pretty rough blows. Truly we could fold our cards and let it break us. Thankfully our marriage is strong and we can handle what comes our way.
Nights I feel I can not possibly go on because of pain, he is there to do whatever it takes to help me. He has never let me feel alone. Not once.
I have gone through periods of sadness with my diagnosis. I have wondered why me, a million times. Now I know. Why not me? I have the strength of my husband to make it through this turbulent time in life.
This journey was meant to be mine, to show other people the way. Chronic pain doesn’t have to ultimately destroy life. There are thousands more out there, just like me. Trigeminal Neuralgia is called the “Suicide Disease” for a reason. But it is not my reason to say I can’t go on. Drew is my reason for every day, he inspires me to keep pressing forward.
I didn’t understand my calling until God stripped me of what I thought was dear to me. My career, my self-esteem, and I doubted every fiber of myself. I didn’t realize, all birds will at times lose their feathers. I couldn’t fly for a while and I was petrified. It took a crash landing for me to look back at my path. It wasn’t a fulfilling one. My family and helping others is where my destiny has called me to.
Drew helped me figure out who I was. When winds of change tore through our lives, we were forced to land and change our course. I didn’t want to and it was a hard change.
What many of us don’t realize is that God has a different destination in mind. When one of the birds in his flock veers off course, they are grounded for their own good.
I was terrified that all of the changes in me would make Drew want to leave me. Instead, he quietly sat with me while I regained my courage. He helped me regain my wings to fly. He protected me until I could.
In the hardest stage of my diagnosis I started my blog and put my heart into my drawing again. I didn’t really know why I wrote in the beginning, it just felt like the only outlet left in my isolated world. The dark spot my soul was in left me wanting to reach out to others. There was no way I was the only one struggling and feeling so alone.
I was ashamed of what I was reduced to and the blog felt like the only safe place to express my frustrations, sadness, and fear.
Eventually, time went on and I heard the first voice, besides that of my husband, saying I made a difference to them. One person! They reached out to me from my website and said they were inspired. After all this time it was all worth it.
More voices have come forward and given me a reason to keep moving onward. Just think. All of this happened because a little boy had the love of his parents. He didn’t just learn to fly, he grew into a peacock with all of the beautiful things he brings to my life.
He has taught me to be a better person, and he taught me the funniest thing. I was never meant to be a bird, I was meant to be a butterfly. My life was to go through a profound change and because of Drew, I was able to have the courage to change.
The butterfly effect talks about how sensitive we can be to conditions around us. One small change in the flap of a wing can produce drastically larger differences thousands of miles away.
If a butterfly flapping its wings in a small town in Minnesota can be felt around the world, I would say your son has had a profound effect on his life and those around him. Thank you for raising him to be the man he is today.
As you move forward in your everyday lives, don’t forget your own butterfly effect on those around you. One small gesture of kindness can change everything. We can all think back to words that hurt us and we carried the hurt around for hours, days, months and years. Think about what would happen if those were words of kindness? Spread it near and far, you have the ability to change lives! Raise your children to be that change.
Thank you for taking the time to read this lengthy blog post. The admiration I had for my husband had been on my mind for a long time and I realized it was because of his upbringing, he is the man I was lucky to marry. God gave me him because we were the perfect match to come out of this storm stronger and hopefully help others, too.
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