I met a woman while shopping recently. At one point during our conversation, I asked her if she had kids. She said “Nope!”  to which I replied, “Lucky you!”  To which she responded, “I hear that a lot!”

My response surprised me, as I have always thought that I was lucky to have a child, in spite of all the angst, worries, hardships and sorrows I’ve experienced as a mother. I started thinking about my knee – jerk response to my new friend’s “Nope!” and asked myself some questions:

– Do I really feel this way?

– Am I a terrible person/mother to have responded in such a fashion? 

– Is it my anger, frustration and hurt talking?

– What do I do with this perspective now that it’s leaked out of my subconscious?

– How do I make peace with such a thought?

After much introspection, I realized that I feel both ways – I’m glad I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy boy. I’m happy to have given him life. I also realized that it’s difficult to feel warmly toward him due to the travails, heartache and suffering I’ve had to endure because of his behaviors and decisions.

I understand that many people have more challenging circumstances surrounding their children, and my heart goes out to them. I’m blessed in many ways: my son is alive and he has four beautiful children who are all thriving. In addition, my son and I still communicate, if sporadically, and it is polite and friendly, despite the influence of his wife. So, I’m grateful.

I have found that no matter what our circumstances are in life, there is always, and I mean always, something for which to be grateful. For example, I live separated from my family – geographically and emotionally. Holidays are torture, especially since most of them are designed for family gatherings and connection. I miss my son and grandchildren terribly and there are days when I find myself spinning in a vortex of an impotent sadness. However, as difficult as it is to be alienated from my son and grandchildren, there are compensations. I no longer have to work so hard to survive in an unhealthy dynamic where I’m kissing butt all the time.  I no longer have to jump through hoops only to be told that I didn’t do it right. I no longer have to witness my son getting weaker and more tethered as the years roll by under his wife’s control and dictatorship.

Yes, there are many compensations. I’ve learned to accept things as they are, no matter how much I wish they were different. I’ve learned how to find peace and serenity by understanding what I can control and what I can’t. I’ve learned to manage expectations.

It’s a bit counterintuitive, but I feel lucky to have known heartbreak – many times over – because there have been so many gifts wrapped inside. And, I believe one of the biggest gifts has been to have a child whose existence has taught me so much about unconditional love.


5 thoughts on “Lucky”

  • wow I appreciate that we are all differant. My three Sons where my greatest gifts then I recieved the beautful gift of grandchildren. My Eldest lost His life & His ex parterner took His Daughter from me & everyone she knew & loved/ This 31/2 yr old child not only lost Her daddy but all tht was familir to Her. I tried to have contact with my grandaughter through court so Her Maternal, not biological mother has taken Her out of the country so She has noone butHer NARCASISTIC mother who has already abandoned one child!! So my grandaughter doesnt have her sister. I m concerned for my grandaughters well being but there is no help out there. My grandaughters Maternal mother’s brother is a promminent Dr in perth & is supporting his sisters behaviour despite knowing that there is a family history of mental illness!!

    • Hello Dianne – good to hear from you. I agree that as grandparents we are sorely lacking in any kind of visitation rights. If there is provable child abuse by the parent(s), then it’s possible to go to court and endure lengthy and expensive proceedings in order to have visitation rights, or in some cases, guardianship. Basically, it’s a mess.
      I hope your granddaughter is surviving the challenging circumstances she’s in. Children, as we know, are remarkably resilient, but who knows what wounds she may be internalizing. Grandparents can be wonderful buffers in these kinds of dysfunctional situations, but when the child is being deprived of the love of their grandparents, it’s another story altogether.
      I”m so sorry to hear that you lost one of your beloved sons. You have a lot of sad events that you’re processing, and my heart goes out to you. Please feel free to write to me either here on the blog or privately at I’m happy to offer support and understanding.

  • Hi Livia,
    Thanks for your comment. I’m sorry your contact with the grandkids is being limited. I had a similar dynamic with a daughter-in-law who was jealous of my grandkid’s affection for me. Jealousy is a terrible thing and can hurt many people.

    Hang in there – chances are things will get better over time. Keep reaching out for visits. The parents may be jealous, but the grandchildren will know that you care about them.

  • Thank you for posting this. I can relate. I live 5 minutes from my youngest son and my grandchildren and his wife. It gets so exhausting kissing in butt so to speak just to be able to see my grandson who is almost 4 and my granddaughter who is 17 months old. I love my son very much but he and his wife are jealous of the fact that my grandson misses me and slways wants to stay over my house. They had me take him alomst every 2 weeks from the time he was born until about a year ago when they would only ask me yo watch him about once a month. I do call ay least once a week to talk with my son and the kids. My grandson still always asks them if he can come over and they hate that he misses me. I can’t believe my life turned out this way as I came from a close family and was a single mom. My other son and his wife don’t have any children though. Some days I cry on and off the entire day because i miss my grandchildren.

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