When you’ve been a parent for nearly a decade you learn what matters and what doesn’t. When your kids are truly in distress and when they’re not. Because your life is good and you are fortunate most of the time your kids aren’t in any real distress. They’re just whining. Or bitching. Or testing you.
Occasionally they really are hurting about something. And you know it instantly. And it breaks your heart.
It’s going to happen a lot, of course. They’ll get boyfriends and girlfriends and all of the drama that goes with it. They’ll fail at some things. They’ll have some dreams you’re not sure you can help them achieve. They’ll have other dreams you can’t help them with at all. Then they’ll grow up and they’ll be totally on their own and you can’t imagine that you’ll worry about them any less even if you can’t do a damn thing about it.
But when they’re little and they’re hurting you feel like you should be able to make it all better with a hug and some encouraging words.
Sometimes you can’t. It’s the worst thing in the world.