finding new purpose, thanks to a comment from a friend
Humans are some pretty complex beings when it comes to things of an emotional nature. We experience moments of happiness, sadness, joy, sorrow, terror, courage…well, you know…you get the picture.
It seems that I’ve been in a funk of a mood for some time and I‘ve not been quite sure what’s going on. At times, it’s been difficult to concentrate on a task and accomplish things with any amount of efficiency or accuracy. It was a feeling I couldn’t quite put my finger on until a comment helped to change my point of view.
When my daughter was born over 20 years ago, she was six weeks premature and was a fragile little girl who needed her parents care and love. In part, she needed MY care and love.
Throughout Layton’s childhood and adolescent years, my bride and I provided everything for her. Not just the material things but also emphasis on how important it was to be honest, respectful, obeying all the rules/laws and the importance of treating people with kindness and dignity.
Upon graduating from high school and enrolling in college, Layton was no longer under our roof and was free to make her own decisions. While the usual student takes four and a half or five years to graduate from college, Layton was able to accomplish her objective in four. Even after all that success and responsible actions, my thought of Layton was still one of a student and not necessarily a full-fledged adult. In my eyes, I was still needed to guide her. Even after Layton moved to Nebraska I felt I was still needed to help direct her through the pitfalls of life as an adult while living on her own over 800 miles away .
On Christmas Day, 2017, my purpose seemed to change after Layton became engaged to a fine young fella who epitomizes decency, honor, respect, dignity and many other wonderful qualities. Aaron has cared for Layton on many occasions and was instrumental in locating an apartment for them to live in once they are married this September.
I know she’s in excellent hands with her fiancé and her future looks promising and bright…I know that…and that’s how it should be. It’s a natural process of life; events that have been happening since time began. I’ve come to the realization that my little girl no longer “needs” me as she has in the past. She’s moved on and yet, I’m still living in the past…a past no longer possible to experience.
It seems from the day our children are born, we as parents are preparing them to be “good” people who are independent thinkers capable of making their own decisions and in the process accomplishing great things once they become adults. Our goal as parents is to equip them with the tools necessary to succeed in life as grown-ups. It’s our purpose…and yet, I sometimes ache for those fun, special whimsical days gone past. I long for the days when I was the coolest, smartest, roughest, toughest, most wonderfullest person in the world who could do no wrong. Nowadays, it seems I can do no right.
Everyone needs to have a purpose in life…certainly something much more than just that of a body taking up space. Since Christmas, 2017, it seems I’ve lost sense of what it means to have a purpose. Maybe this feeling can be expected when someone like me who has invested too much of his self-worth in a child who, once upon a time, needed her parents as much as she once did. I don’t know…maybe my new purpose in life is to just love my daughter enough to give her hand to another…to someone who will love and care for her as a husband and as an adult. Maybe that’s my purpose…I don’t know.
Lately, all I can think about is the fact that I’m losing my daughter to another person. When I think of all the days gone past when Layton was a little girl, I can’t help but mourn for a place and time that I can never get back.
The other day, a comment by someone helped me realize that all is not lost when it comes to things like this. This perfectly innocent comment has helped me to begin making some sense of my situation. My wife and I were visiting with another couple the other day about Layton’s plans for her wedding, their daughter’s families and other things relating to our children. When I mentioned that Amber and I were going to be on the losing-end of things when it came to Layton, the lady made a simple comment that we weren’t necessarily losing a daughter; we were actually gaining a son.
This innocuous comment has begun to make a significant difference for me. I seem to be transitioning a bit from a “Half-Empty” person to that of one being “Half-Full”. This fledgling attitude can be credited to one simple comment. Thanks Joanne. I needed that.
Allen Hrubes is an occasional columnist for the Glendive Ranger-Review. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.