Who’s ready for another rabbit hole brought to you by me and my sometimes overly emotional self?
For the parents out there, lets talk parenting for a minute. It’s hard, right? But it’s also so worth it!
I mean, when they are little you’re just trying to keep them alive and teach them not to put things up their nose, to say please and thank you, and maybe if you’re lucky a few educational things too. On a good day if you got all four of those things in you were winning. I mean…stand up, take a bow, and help someone else have a winning day because YOU are a rockstar! Tomorrow is a problem for tomorrow.
And if you hit consistency…that deserves a victory lap! Several days in a row of potty training success, Mom and Dad deserve a cookie…forget about the kid, you’ve beat the system!
Once they’ve started school a win is everyone was kind and some work was done. Because the school years go on for so long they make the worlds craziest rollercoaster look like It’s a Small World ride at Disney. These years can be best described as parenting in the trenches. Learning to balance distance and closeness all at the same time; showing them that you are always close by but giving them the freedom to make some mistakes. Allow them to make mistakes, those mistakes will serve as guides as well. Don’t be afraid to be close enough to remind them to shake off the bad days so they too can try again tomorrow. School is where they truly learn to be a good human. Ideally they’ve learned about this at home but now those sacred lessons are translated out into a our fallen world. It’s the rhythm of sowing and reaping, they are taught kindness and then sent to give it to others. These are the years when life and scholastic lessons equally matter. Remind them that love is the greatest of all things. Remind them to do good. Remind them that being tender to a new student is life giving. Remind them grades matter but effort matters more. Remind them grace fills in the gaps because perfection is not expected or attainable.
The years (and tears) will twist and wind on. And then high school hits. Having a high schooler is a lot like having a toddler except they don’t pee on the floor. There are a lot of words that come from this age group though many of them are blurted out and not really evaluated for accuracy. I had no idea it was even possible but there are even more emotions that expel from every part of their being than there are words! How is that even possible? They are wonderful and confusing. They test your ability to be rational (which mine is pretty low, fyi) but then they are so sweet!
Link arms with your tribe of fellow parents and stand firm, it is only a season. The highest of highs and lowest of lows will most likely be experienced during these four precious years.
“Mom, come snuggle with me.” age 16.
“Dad, we should watch that movie together” age 14.
Show up. If you are granted the gift of words like these drop everything. Don’t hesitate. Be there because there will come a day when they love you but want to be in a million other places instead. Right this second everything else can wait, press pause on life just for a little while.
Let me let you in on a secret that I figured out: you are doing exponentially better than you think you are. I promise. I see you. I know the effort poured into these people. It’s hard to accept this truth, I know. You feel like you are walking into more walls than you are clearing them. You feel like you’ve missed significant moments and maybe sometimes you have but the fact you are even caring about that says you are missing less than you are present for. Be gentle with yourself.
Another secret: they are a lot more clueless than they want you to think, their humility-o-meter isn’t fully in tact yet so they aren’t wired to tell you that you are right sometimes. But you are.
I want to give credit where it’s due: Jim and Diane…I never could have been the Mom I am without you both in my corner. You are extraordinary people. You are my tribe. You are my squad. You are my sanity. You make tears turn to laughter. You pull my head out of the sand and remind me that I was created to be these kids Mom.