When the Best of Family Makes Us Depressed
Birthday celebrations for people turning twenty are always emotional, as was the case recently for my daughter. I observe with sadness that my four living children all grow up, especially my three-year-old son. It’s been demonstrated by the other three.
I find it disappointing that I can’t stop these kids’ growth so that I can enjoy them more. Life evolves for a reason, to better itself. It must, but one unfortunate byproduct of life is that as we age, we become less relevant to our offspring… and still, perhaps when our children relied on us most we felt we were too relevant!
I can recall not being as intrinsically motivated as I am now as a father. Parenting is still difficult despite the past 12 years of intrinsic motivation. I feel what I’m missing, which makes it harder. The best of family makes me unhappy. Family wasn’t as important at one point, and I felt less… it was easier. But I didn’t even realize how much more I had missed.
The more honest we are inclined to be, the more we desire to live for others rather than ourselves, and the more grief we experience, the closer we are to God. The reason for this is that vulnerability fosters intimacy, and when the dynamics of intimacy change, intimacy also fosters pain.
From a parent’s perspective, the best family is sad because children’s lives progress and they must inevitably move on.
We don’t fully comprehend until it’s too late, after our kids have left the nest. It’s a challenging lesson, but it enlightens us on the fact that love is what fuels our feelings of loss.
We feel like we lose more the more we love. But since we fulfilled our obligation to love, that ought to be enough.
© 2016 S.J. Wickham.