As soon as you write words, you have to prove them.
The second they drop from your pen, an opportunity to see if you mean them is forced upon you.
Or is that just me?
Surely it’s not just me.
And will I be a broken record for the rest of my life?
The preaching to me all the live long day?
I think that’s a real possibility.
It feels true.
And if your words aren’t mocking you from the page, they’re doing it from the mouths of the people you live with.
“Mom, remember? You said if she did that again, the next time you would…….” Fill in the blank. Whatever it was that I said that I meant then, or didn’t mean then. That I said without thinking rationally through my entire sentence. Or without thinking through the consequences to me first.
Parenting is NOT for cowards, I am telling you that for certain and for true.
My oldest daughter now has two babies. A toddler and a newborn. All she’s doing these days is nursing an infant and crowd controlling a toddler.
I know because I remember it so very clearly. Well, maybe less clearly and more like a fog. Like a fog that descended upon my brain for – oh, I don’t know – a decade.
Back then it was wearying and hard to stay awake during two a.m. feedings. Toddlers touched all the things and pulled out all the toys and pushed all the buttons and ate all the snacks and didn’t eat all the veggies and made all the messes.
Now it’s wearying to train those once-toddlers to put away their books and hang up their jackets and go to sleep when they are supposed to and brush their teeth without being reminded and speak words that are kind. Their cries come less frequently but when they come, in the throes of hormonal angst and teenage angst and repercussions of divorce angst, they are heavy and exhausting cries – both for the child and for the momma.
I say parenting is not for cowards, and I mean it. But I want to be a coward too. I am sometimes a coward, of course. I shy away from the hard. I long to make the path less thorny – for me and for them both. I ache for the quick fix and the ointment that would cure all the stuff that plagues the hearts in this house.
I wish our problems were solved with a full night’s sleep and a solid nap and a good afternoon walk in the sunshine. (And those things still have a pretty powerful dose of healing to them, even now.)
This whole path of child-rearing feels a lot more like make-sure-the-child-doesn’t-fall-off-the-cliff-and-call-it-a-good-day-when-he-doesn’t.
With a big heavy sigh from here in the trenches, I say to you, to all of us, parents of children we love and parents of children we want to serve well and parents of children we know we will disappoint, hang in there. Do the next thing. Swaddle the newborn and rise and shine as best you can for that five a.m. cry of hunger. Help your preschooler learn to pick up his toys and tie his shoes. Brush your daughter’s hair. Sit on the bed beside your teenager and just pat their leg or rub their back until they start saying all the words they’ve shoved inside somewhere. And try not to drown in the sheer volume of what pours out.
We’re not saving the world tonight, mom and dad. We’re just raising kids.
Well, okay. Maybe we are saving the world.