GAIL WHITE For all I no, my boys will understand someday
I wish my children could understand all the love in my "no."
When my 3-year-old wants a lollipop he spies in the check-out counter at the store, I wish he could understand, as he walks away with tears in his eyes, that it is because I love him too much to let him spoil his dinner. That is why I say no.
When my 8-year-old wants to jump down the stairs from the seventh step, I wish he knew, as he stomps down six steps and baby-jumps the last, how much I want him to have fun. But I love him so much, I can't bear to see him hurt, and that is why I say no.
When my 10-year-old wants to stay up "just a half-hour more" at bedtime, I wish he could comprehend, as he crosses his arms in refusal of my good-night kiss, how much I would love to have his laughing, smiling face brighten the room for 30 more minutes. But I love him too much to see a tired, grumpy face in the morning, and that is why I say no.
When my 13-year-old wants to "hang out with the guys" in town, I wish he could read my mind, as he trudges off to pout in his room. Then he would understand how much I want to see him enjoying himself with his friends. But I love him too much to give his young, curious mind too much free rein, and that is why I say no.
Tough task: Saying no to my children has been one of the most difficult duties I have faced as a parent.
My heart wants to see my children happy.
My mind reminds me that my children cannot be truly happy and healthy without no.
Saying no to exploits that might cause physical injury seems to come easier for me than saying no to activities that promote mental and emotional turmoil.
I have no problem yelling, "No!" when my child touches an electrical outlet.
When he wants to spend the afternoon playing video games, my no holds a less urgent tone. Yet, I believe, the effects can be just as mentally "frying."
There is no hesitation in my voice when my child starts to run through a busy parking lot. "No!" I yell.
My no is less audible when his mouth is running, spewing garbage about this person or that. Yet both instances can result in getting hit.
No matter how I say no, it is always met with the same look of self-righteous injustice by which a child processes his world.
I wish they could see inside my heart. Then they would understand the love in my no.
My children think they understand how much I love them when I say yes.
A joy: Saying yes is one of the true joys of parenthood; watching little faces light up in delight and seeing smiles as wide as a mile.
I have amazed myself with the lengths to which I will go to achieve a yes.
The inconvenience or personal sacrifice seems minimal in relation to the smiles.
Yet, it is in my no that my true love for my children is symbolized.
My no shares the message that you may not have everything that you want.
My no creates an understanding that you cannot do everything that you want.
My no develops a realization that you may not go everywhere you want.
My nos will be responsible for making my children responsible.
May they take joy in my yes.
But may they know my no.
It will be years before my children will understand the love behind my no.
It will be longer still before they have a true appreciation of all those nos
The right time: If I accomplish the proper mix of yes and no, always stirring in an abundance of love, a time will come when my children will understand and appreciate my no.
When they do, I shall kick up my heels and rejoice with a resounding, "YES!"
XVALENTINE'S DAY SPECIAL: I am looking for the best advice about love you can give or have been given. E-mail (below) or write me c/o Vindicator. Your message must include your name and phone number.