A Heavy Load

I mentioned to DH and Sons#4 and #5 yesterday that I had a difficult day ahead of me. It's the day The Most Adorable Granddaughter comes in to work for three whole hours! What can I say? It's a heavy burden I bear but someone has to do it! LOL

In case you're reading this blog for the first time, I absolutely enjoy every moment I spend with The Most Adorable Granddaughter. When she comes into work it's as if someone has just turned on the light, and when she goes, part of me goes with her. I just love spending time with her.

However, yesterday was difficult. But not because of The Most Adorable Granddaughter.

Our centre caters to families from a wide cross-section of the community: two-parent families, single parent families, and teenage mums; professional parents, struggling-to-make-ends-meet parents, and still-in-study parents; indulgent parents, sticklers-for-routine parents, authoritarian parents, and discipline-is-not-in-our-vocabulary parents. But all are parents. And most love their children and want the best for them.

But sometimes they don't know how to make that a reality.

In the classic story, Goodnight Mister Tom, when the psychiatrist tells Tom that he wants to delve into Will's background to find out why he is the way he is, Tom replies, "Thought that's pretty obvious. The boy ent had a lot of loving."

Some children I work with "ent had a lot of loving." Or not enough of the right kind of loving. I'm not referring to children that are clearly in abusive situations that must be removed for their own safety. No, but there are children living in homes that are perhaps border-line - where love and respect, trust and security are all lacking or inconsistent. Sometimes they live with fear or emotional distance from the adults in their lives. Sometimes their needs are met by siblings not much older than themselves or there is a succession of "fathers" through the home. Sometimes these children are easy to spot. Sometimes not. But generally over time it becomes apparent that a child "ent had a lot of loving".

I just want to pick these children up and bring them home. But I can't. And it hurts.

I can love these children. I can cuddle them and speak softly to them but at the end of the day they go home to less than ideal situations. But if I can give just one child a sense of security and worth and of being loved and wanted, even if it's only for a few hours each week, then perhaps I have made a difference in that child's life. I hope so anyway.


April said…
That is so sad Jules. It's hard to understand how parents can be distant (and worse) to their own children, but there are so many "walking wounded" in the world that it happens way too much. It breaks my heart. The children are so lucky to have you and your center. And I'm sure you are indeed making a difference to them.
Jules said…
Thanks April for your encouragement. This was a difficult story to write. I hurt for these children and want so much to do more. These are the children that 'slip through the cracks'. The situation isn't bad enough to warrant intervention, yet isn't anywhere near ideal.

As a parent I know I've made mistakes and at times I wish I could undo some of the damage, but I think my kids know that I loved them and love them still.

My youngest son made a comment the other day that really surprised me. He said he and his friends had been talking and his friends were saying they couldn't remember the last time they saw their parents together - and these are parents who still live in the same house and are still "together", yet obviously so busy that their children never see them spending time together as a couple. I was really blown-away that teenage boys would even notice this or comment on it, but when I thought about it, I realised that it's all part of that sense of security that children thrive on. Almost as if they're thinking, "Mum and dad are together and love each other and love me therefore I don't need to worry and can get on with my own life." Sadly, some children - even babies - never know the security that mum and dad will be there tomorrow.
Jen said…
That is so sad. I remember when I worked in daycare, there were parents that would drop their kids off at daycare when they (the parents) would be on vacation from work. It wasn't because the parents needed the kids to be there, it was entirely for selfish reason. The poor kids didn't even get to be with their parents barely at all. They would literally spend no time at all with their kids. They would drop them off at 6 a.m. and pick them up at 6 p.m. I remember just wondering why in the world they had kids in the first place. The kids were in such need of love. You could tell, and it was so sad. The kids that are at your center are lucky to have you! I'm sure you are a light to them, and you really make a difference in their lives!
Jules said…
Jen, I hear what you're saying. Today I learnt that a little girl (not quite 2 years old) is leaving our centre and going to another centre because her mother 'needs more hours' (the mother's words - not mine). The little girl is in care from 8.30 am - 3.30 pm every week day. The new centre that she will be attending is open 7.00 am - 5.30 pm. I just feel for this little girl. It's a long time to be away from mum and home. The mother might need more hours, but the reality is that the child needs less! And mum is due to have a baby soon so that will be two little ones in full-time care. It's so sad.