I Hope My Kids Get Their Hearts Broken
I believe I was born to be a mom. At 22, I have already lived through great suffering. I have cried out in agony and sobbed uncontrollably and contemplated ending my life more times than I would like to admit. That is something I will never wish on my children. I don’t want them to question their existence, or think for a second that they are not loved. But I hope they have some of the experiences that have shaped me as a person and reminded me that I am here and life is worth living.
I hope they have a high school sweetheart.
My high school sweetheart was my first love. That relationship was immature and unsure, but it taught me more than I could have ever hoped to learn about how to care for another person. High school relationships rarely last, as was the case with mine, but they carve out a space in your heart that no other relationship can ever fill. There’s nothing quite like growing up holding the hand of someone who is just as uncertain as you are. Most of the time you don’t think you’ll ever have to let go.
Being young and in love is messy. I know this all too well, and I want to be there to watch as my children discover how to fully allow someone into their hearts. I want them to hesitantly flirt under stadium lights. I want them to buy corsages and boutonnieres and dance in a sea of people like they’re the only ones in the world. I want to meet their first loves, listen as they work through jealousy and disagreement, and teach them how to be vulnerable. I know they’ll probably lie to my face and break curfew and make mistakes as I once did, but I will love them through it all the same.
I hope they see their favorite band in concert.
If my children have the same music taste as I do I will know I’ve succeeded as a parent. My personality and the way I process emotions were shaped by bands I’ve listened to since middle school. Lord Huron, City and Colour, Gregory Alan Isakov, Stelth Ulvang, and The Lumineers are some of my closest friends. Their lyrics tug at my heart, their melodies make me want to scream and cry and hoot and holler, and their constant presence in my life has been a sanctuary.
I hope my children discover the music that makes their chest swell. I hope it starts small, a far-off rumble of something falling into place. I hope it grows over time, bringing the comfort of familiarity. I hope it reaches a fever pitch, changing the course of their lives with each new album release.
Concerts hold my favorite memories. The words I so often hum under my breath roar loudly in my ears and I am free, even encouraged, to shout and scream along. People whose lives have also been changed surround me and their warmth and voices mesh into a sense of deep-rooted community. At the end of the night, I leave with a hoarse voice and a full heart.
I hope my children have the same experience that I did when I saw Lord Huron at the 40 Watt Club in Athens, GA. I went all by myself, the only one out of my group of friends who was able to get a ticket before they sold out. I stood at the foot of the stage with wide eyes. My feet left the ground and my hands reached into the air. This is it, I thought. This is what it feels like to love.
I hope they make a BIG mistake.
My parents chewed me out once when they found a picture of me with my middle finger up. I’ve forgotten to turn in assignments and had zeros in the grade book. My fingers have crafted ill-intentioned texts that should have never been sent. I’ve made loads of mistakes, but none of them compare to the shame and regret I felt when I spread hateful gossip about a classmate to her own sister.
At the time I was thinking only of myself, adding what I could to a conversation that had nothing to do with me. I had no way of knowing if what I said was true, and yet I said it anyway. My insidious actions came back to slap me in the face when the very girl I gossiped about slid into my Instagram DM’s. I met a very kind, disappointed message with my profuse apologies and the knowledge that I would never be able to right what I had wronged.
I can’t begin to describe the regret and shame I felt over my own actions. Very few people know that this came to pass because I almost can’t bear the reality that I so severely hurt another person with my words. It is still the greatest regret of my life.
I don’t pretend to think that my children will never make mistakes. I hope they never hurt someone as deeply as I have, but I know there’s a good chance that they will. I want to be there for them to confide in, and turn around and say Yes, you messed up. Let’s figure out how to push on from here. My big mistakes taught me how to forgive myself while taking full accountability. The most you can do when you’ve wronged someone beyond repair is to accept the reality of the situation, apologize, and firmly decide you will never let it happen again. Mistakes breed lessons and I’ll be damned if my kids don’t learn how to take those lessons to heart.
I hope they find God.
My children will grow up going to church on Sundays, praying before bed, and unwrapping joy on Christmas morning. I will lead a Christian household, but I will leave it up to my children whether or not they believe in my God. Each day I will share with them how my faith has shaped my life, even saved it. My testimony will ring in their ears and my prayers will grace our kitchen table.
I do not pretend to agree with everything organized Christianity instills in its followers. Say what you will, but I will always support the LGBTQ+ community, women’s rights to control their own bodies, and accepting those who choose to believe what you do not. My children will know where I stand, and I can only hope they stand firmly beside me.
My life changed the moment I found God. I was a wreck, questioning my inherent goodness, and watching my will to go on slowly fade away. I opened my heart to God with a quiet sob and He roared into my life with enough power to knock me down to my knees in worship. I was saved that day and I have never been the same. My faith has strengthened my ability to love, my determination to persevere, and my belief that the purpose of life is to connect with those around you.
I hope and pray that my children find God. Religion has its downsides, its critics and rules and inconsistencies, but at the end of the day it gives us a reason to live and an outline for how to do so. My children will know that it’s okay to question what you are taught, and ultimately the choice is up to you. They will know why I made the choice I did. Every step they take towards or away from my God will be supported whether they turn towards or away from me. Even if it breaks my heart.
I hope they get their heart broken.
If my children are even half as sensitive as I am, life is going to knock them down time and time again. Although I would do anything to save them from it, I know that heartache is necessary to fully appreciate the joy that life can bring.
A broken heart feels like a hole has been blown through your chest. Where your soul was once rooted is now gaping. You are empty, something is missing. It is a wound that feels impossible to mend. You clutch your hand to your chest and feel the breath leave your lungs with a gasp as your face contorts in pain and confusion. Heartbreak is overwhelming.
The only way to overcome a broken heart, frustratingly, is time. The days and weeks and months and years of overcoming heartbreak are devastating. It can look like crying, screaming, or staring into space with dull eyes. For my children, however, I will do anything I can to make it look like a weary head resting in my lap, fingers gently stroking their hair. Sobs will make them shake and I will hold them tight to keep their bones together. Eyes will be rubbed raw with tears and I will hold their gaze steadfast, not once fearing the hurt that is ravaging them.
My years of drowning in my emotions have served me well. Slowly, I found a plank in the water. I lifted myself up, sitting straight-backed, and watching the waves that still rocked me. I had friends and family come to find me, tossing out a rope ladder for me to climb. Steadily, the weight of the water in my hair and on my skin was dried away. They taught me how to steer the boat before helping me build my own. I am my own captain now.
I hope my children get their hearts broken. If there’s anyone who can walk them through it, it’s me.