I remember an incident that happened several months ago. On this particular day I wanted to take a short walk around the block so I invited Anne to go with me. At the time I was trying to recover from a concussion and the associated fatigue that seemed to be my constant companion.
As we left the house Anne asked if I wanted to walk to Harmon’s because the walk would be level rather than slightly uphill if we headed east. She knew that even walking up a short incline was a struggle for me. I told her ‘no’ because heading east looked fairly level. I never considered it as having an incline. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I really was walking uphill and I felt it right away.
With Anne’s help I made it around the block but by the time we got home I was sweaty and tired. I was also feeling guilty because I wasn’t sure if the residual effects of the concussion was the real cause of the fatigue or if I was milking it for all it was worth and just faking everything.
As we walked into the house, Anne and I went into our front room just to relax and enjoy each other’s company for a few minutes. As we sat down on the couch I looked up at a picture hanging on our wall. It is the wedding picture of my mother and father. Mom is wearing her wedding dress and she is beautiful and happy. Dad is contented to be standing behind Mom in his handsome suit and tie. The eyes of both of my parents seemed to be focusing directly on me.
As I looked at their picture I experienced an extreme guilty conscience. I knew that they loved me but I imagined a look of disappointment in their eyes as they stared at me, their only son. I thought I could hear them whisper that I was using this concussion as a means to be lazy, to lie around the house, and to let Anne do all the work.
I always felt they were proud of my work ethic and me but now as they looked down at me from their place on the wall I envisioned disappointment.
I expressed these feelings and concerns to Anne who made a comment that restored some hope in me. “Cal, your parents always expected you to do your best and nothing more.”
I looked back at the picture hanging on the wall and where I first saw disappointment in their eyes I now saw love, support, trust and belief in me.
I realized that as parents we need to let our children know and feel that they are important to us and even if they do something that we don’t like we still love them and will help them develop their inner strength so they can face their challenges. Let’s help them understand that all we expect from them is to do their best.
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