Parenting is Hard.

After an experience with one of my precious children this morning, and after some weekend reflection, I’ve come to this conclusion:

PARENTING IS HARD.

Maybe that isn’t news to you. If I stopped parenting long enough to think about it (which only happens in tiny little moments), I might have figured this out sooner. Maybe? 🙂

Anyway, these recent moments of reflection have shown me similar traits in my children to my own personality flaws (which are actually quite difficult to view). For example, remember when you have read a novel or watched a film and you find yourself identifying with the feelings or habits or personalities of a certain character? Those connections have been happening abundantly lately for me…only my children are not mere characters in a book or movie. They are my children.  And they are flawed (which I knew) like me (which is what is so difficult currently to view).

Maybe some of the difficulty is knowing the path they have ahead of them…and my desire to help them wake up to a realization that certain behaviors that I have wasted years of my life practicing can lead them to heartache and sadness.  I find myself defensively saying (in my mind) to them, “I’m getting over [that behavior].  Why can’t you?”

But, some lessons need to be learned from the inside out, not vice versa.

I guess what I’m saying is, after this weekend and this morning, I’ve got some work to do…both for myself and also with my children. And I’m wondering what I can do to change today….

Each of my children (and yours) is a gift, a life, an opportunity for love and learning and greatness. My children don’t need the fame of a Super Bowl ring, a Julliard degree, or a name in figurative lights to be valued and precious and productive in society. They are each amazing in their own spheres of influence as they develop and share their own talents and gifts with those around them.

I wish I had learned that earlier. I still find myself fighting feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness daily. But, at least I am fighting them (most days) instead of giving into negativity.

On the way back from taking one of our children to school (the one having a rough morning), my husband gently said my name, followed by the words, “You are a good woman.”

My immediate thought was, “If I was a good woman, I could cure more ills and take away more pain.”

As I fought tears in the thought, I saw something else, though…a smattering of light…of truth.

Pain is part of life and a tool to help us grow, just like a flower fights the adversities of gravity and wind to grow and stand straight and bloom.

So bloom. As a person. As a parent. As YOU. We can make a beautiful bouquet together.

Sometimes…

Sometimes I find myself mourning for the loss of one of my former selves…like I miss that girl in college, wet behind the ears, caring with an eagerness unknown to deliver what professors wanted (perfectly edited writing, organized statistics assignments, practiced music for piano and voice…what time is my jury?) along with what other students needed (support, acceptance, “When’s our Shakespeare paper due again?“).  Sometimes I miss her.

Other days, though, I find myself mourning that young mother, with three little ones.  You know the one I’m talking about…before the twins came?  That woman who woke with tired vigor after night nursing and read myriad picture books and rolled the enormous red ball with the toddlers,…the one who cradled that new little baby #3.  She was such a conscientious mother, seeking to still help others with so much on her plate already.

And still, I find myself wishing I could recapture that vigor of running home after school, slinging books on the table, grabbing whatever was left in the Cheez Doodle bag and then dashing out the door again to play football with friends down the street, the “younger” guy that I liked in 9th grade among them.  Where is she now?

Then sometimes I listen to Matchbox Twenty (they are on my playlist now), and I think about how far I’ve come…wondering if all the deaths of former selves are worth mourning over after all….  They have changed and created something more:  wisdom, experience, love.  I used to think I was most beautiful as a twenty-something bride, dressed in a long, white gown and my husband equally groomed in his tux (no pun intended), but that’s not who I am anymore, either.

I’m hoping this aging thing that’s happening to me looks a little more like beauty than society would think.

Well, I can smell the cake in the oven.  Must be about ready.  I’ll have to leave the mourning for another day.  The preschooler has been asking for an Iron Man cake since he woke me up at 5:17 this morning, so I’m off to mixing butter, powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, and food dye (& probably a little bit of shortening if I can rationalize it) into red and gold frosting.

Till next time,

The Me I Am Today 🙂

Image Copyright Sarah Knight Photography