Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Humility of Parenting

I feel like my children are an extension of my heart, intricately intertwined with every life-giving force within me. From the moment they were created, there has been a spiritual connection between us that is unexplainable- words could not possibly do it justice- its just there. And for the most part- this feels like a gift, every moment of every day. But there is this ache....

Tom and I have parented our kids "the hard way" in a lot of respects- foregoing mainstream choices for those more attachment based- to the benefit of all of us . But I think that there is a certain idealism that sets in, for any of us mothers, where we begin to believe that we can save our children from the inevitable pain of growing-up, the harder lessons of life, by following the dogma of particular styles of parenting and doing it perfectly. As ludicrous as that sounds, none of us want to watch our kids experience pain at the hands of life- the skinned knees, the thoughtlessness of other humans, the failed tests, the betrayal of friends, the loss of pets or loved ones, the break-ups and break-outs....but much of it will happen, and as horrible as it feels to be in the midst of it, there is a toughening of the soul, a widening of the path that occurs when it does- and you can't really get to the sweetness of this journey without meeting those challenges head-on.

I was reminded of this by an email from a most treasured friend of mine yesterday- the mother of my high-school sweetheart. My wise sage of a friend, Edie, holding my fourth child.





She single-handedly raised a most amazing man, through many hard times, with amazing guts and tremendous values. Without her, I would be a different woman today, and for that I owe her immensely. I had confided in her some of the challenges we are facing with one of our children at the moment and she quickly dished out to me some of that hard-core wisdom I came to know when I loved her son so long ago- and for all of its simplicity- it was worth its weight in gold because she's right- this is life and you have to learn that bad things happen to good people...and it is what it is.

As parents, its easy to get caught up in the emotional side of protecting our children. But the bottom-line is, surely, that most of us have very little control over the hand our kids are dealt. We are given the gift of life with them for an indeterminate amount of time, and our job is to guide them on this path with the tools we have garnered from our own experiences. There are times, like now, though, where I want to go kicking and screaming down this road, much like a child myself...I want to scream at the Universe- no, not my child! not our family! not now! not ever! I've worked too hard- what did I do wrong?! What can I do better?! Can't we just all be happy?!

Ah- the lessons of mothering- they are both endless and humbling and I am caught at a loss continually, though ever grateful for the support of some of the greatest people on the planet. And Today, I am thankful for that.

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Forty-three year-old, mother and staunch advocate of four young children, passionate warrior of truth and self, finding the soul in each day, sharing my struggles and triumphs as I live them. Mostly I do this for me, so my thoughts don't race as much at night as they used to. But I also give this to those of you who need to know, in any or every way, that you are not alone.

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