You cannot see the mountain from the top.
Not an earth shattering observation, but one which is easy to lose track of. I haven’t seen the mountain in a long time. It sometimes takes someone who isn’t standing right with you to see the mountain for you and describe it to you. Even then you might not believe that you are on a mountain. Why should you? You can’t see it.
Donna described my mountain to me a few months ago. I didn’t see it. Didn’t want to see it. Still don’t really want to see it, but I got a better understanding of it over the last few weeks.
Our daughter’s health problems are in remission and things seem to be going well. Parent’s sometimes get the feeling that their children work a tag team to keep the pressure on and such is the case in our family. Just as our daughter got out of hospital our son was on his way there. The past few months, most especially the past two weeks, have been a lot of effort and worry to see things going in the right direction. He is moving back home tomorrow which will be good for him. There is the mountain that Donna observed and I tried to ignore: I’m a parent, first, foremost, forever.
One of the things that I think Donna likes about me is my steadfastness. It’s also one of the things which can be most annoying about me and inevitably most disruptive to any relationship which involves children. It’s not that our children are young, they aren’t, but they aren’t independent adults yet either, and need more than the average amount of care. I do my best for them, but in doing so often neglect Donna who does her best for me. It’s not hard to imagine that no one likes to come second, and no one deserves to be an afterthought on any day of their life.
My mountain, Donna observed, is something off of which I will not come because I cannot and she won’t join me because she cannot. She understands that I have to be there, that’s what parents do. Knowing that doesn’t make it any easier on either of us but it is much harder on her. Being aware that you are standing on a mountain doesn’t change the view, only what you think of it and an awareness of how unfair things can be for those who care for you.