Recently, my twins and I went on a family vacation to Disney World. There is nothing like a family vacation to remind me of the differing perspectives between children and adults. My children are present in the moment. They are optimistic. They trust everyone. They are full of unconditional love. I am none of those things (although I try to be). On several occasions, I felt as though we were living in two different worlds.
I think that every parent grapples with relating to their children on some level. I think they wonder how their innocent and loving children should be introduced to the darkness in the world. It becomes especially challenging when tragedies create a flurry of bad news all over the television and radio. It’s hard to find the balance between embracing their beautiful innocent spirits and preparing them for a world that will undoubtedly deal them some blows.
I think this struggle is particularly challenging for trauma survivors. Now that I have broken the cycle of abuse, I have come to the realization that my children’s lives will be completely different from my own. I am grateful for that. However, I wonder what it means to live a “normal” life with a “normal” childhood. How does that shape a person? Maybe they will struggle less and feel less pain. Maybe they will live an “easy” life. Maybe they will feel more fulfilled. Maybe they won’t have the same passion to change the world. Maybe they will have more passion to make a difference in this world because they are not consumed with trauma.
I can’t help but selfishly wonder if my children will ever truly understand me.
Will they understand why I know every detail of a room when I have never been there before?
Will they understand why I always have to sit facing the door when I am eating at a restaurant?
Will they understand why a simple hug can sometimes be too much for my over-stimulated system to handle?
Will they understand why, sometimes, I just don’t feel like dancing to the noises that the printer makes?
Will they understand why I can’t change the schedule at the last minute?
Will they understand why I don’t always trust that the right thing will happen?
Will I make sense to them as they grow up? I’m not sure. It seems so strange to raise children that are so different from me.
And yet, I would have it no other way.