The “Unhappiest” Child

Have you ever heard that quote that you are only as happy as your unhappiest child? Before I was a parent that just made sense. I had NO IDEA that it would be like flipping my mental switch from light to absolute darkness. A deep, black hole of suffocating darkness. 

Looking calm, keeping cool

When my boys were little I was mostly concerned in my head. I knew pretty clearly which decisions needed intention and which would be “sweating the small stuff”. I paced myself and stayed as close as possible without giving myself away.  But now…I feel called to guide one in particular to the gate while each decision builds on the next. If I can just keep nudging him along, smoothly edging him forward, he will eventually flap his own happy wings and never look back. (Just in time to leave for college.)

un-happiest child = fragile (un-happy) parent

Obviously, this has to be somewhat strategic (although I am pretty sure he is on to me). Occasionally—actually more and more now that I think about it—he gets it. All. Then the child announces he wants to travel across the country on his own and stay in a hotel by himself to hang out with a girl he met in a college chat room. (This time I suggested it might benefit us both for him to get comfortable pumping his own gas first.) My middle child agreed, which in turn made me happy.

My oldest was an easy baby and toddler and it was obvious we were amazing at this parenting thing. (I jinxed us and we were doomed with the next. The odds have it, fair is fair.) I was induced with this one (twice) before he emerged on his own time two weeks later. At that point, my new son and I agreed it would be best to leave the umbilical cord loosely attached (until today). I realize, however, that this works in both ways. I mean, he is attached to ME. I’m not quite ready to bust out the scissors yet, but let’s just say that the good news is, it looks like he is.


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