What a beautiful mess.

I gathered with three friends last week and we were discussing details of an issue I am working through with my daughter. They thanked me for sharing. They gave me a high five for how Big Man and I were handling things. They said we were being proactive and preventative. It felt weird to accept praise because when you are inside something you simply do the best you can.

The only thing I really know about parenting is that it will kick you six ways to Sunday. No matter who you are and how well you think you know your kid, it is impossible to really understand everything that is going on inside them.

You can do all the "right" things and read the books and all the research and proceed with all cylinders firing and still be thrown for a loop. "Good" parents can be looking and still not see. "Good" kids can still shock you. "Good" kids can still be good and do bad things. "Good" kids get to explore the world right along with the rest of us and sometimes it means they may use poor judgment. I am not saying that you can't know your kid. I am just saying each kid has their own journey. The minute you utter, "My kid would NEVER..." is a way of dishonoring what they just might need to learn through a mistake AND it becomes the exact moment you need to start eating your words. I shudder when parents are unable to admit that their child just may have taken a wrong turn.

I just really hopewishprayencouragebelieve that if we could cut the crapdenialpretense and collectively throw up our hands and say, "Hey! I am trying! I didn't know! I thought this about my kid and I was wrong!" we'd all just really be so much more comfortable when the shit does hit the fan in reaching out to others with our fears and uncertainties and our mistakes. Ours and our kids.

We are not perfect. Our kids are not perfect, and in the end we are all just sort of shooting from the hip. Anyone who has spent time in a formal learning situation knows that reading a "how to" manual is radically different than live learning. Parenting is the ultimate in on-the-job-training and while practice does make better, it is does not make perfect.

I refuse to wear rose-colored glasses. I can list for you a thousand ways in which I love my child and I can list for you a thousand things I love about my child. I can get all Mama Bear with the best of them, but at the end of the day the best thing I can do is share my doubts and admit that it's quite possible I screwed up. It is quite likely I missed something. It is quite likely I had a parenting fail. Or two. Or sixty. And maybe, just maybe, my kid was human and messed up too.

I wish we could all be like this.

Yes, we need to be on the side of our kid. But that side also has to be willing to admit defeat, mistakes, and imperfections because that is where real growth happens. That is when you get to open it up to what I have come to believe is one of the most glorious words in the English language...help.

Thing 1 has some struggles and I am not going to define them as good or bad or right or wrong. What has come from these struggles is that she admitted to them and we were willing to see them. We had been suspicious. Our parenting guts suggested something was off, but it wasn't until we saw some things in writing and she opened up to us that we could really move forward.  None of this has been fun. However, I am completely convinced that the more control we think we have, the more we are deluding ourselves.

I am thankful for my friends who have borne so much from me this year. These people have cheered and lifted and quietly prayed and burned candles all in the name of me and my family and then taken the time to say, "Well done!"


This feels like so much to take in and hold and yet it is exactly what happens when we share and open up and let down the walls.

We are alone as we go about our days and yet when we share, we are together in our messed up and glorious imperfections. I feel like the very best and most perfect thing I can do is admit this and cradle and cherish and be thankful for my particular mess.

I am.

I so am.

And I just really want you to be able to do the same. It is freeing and humbling and what all of us needs to move a little more gently through this wonky world of life.

1 comment:

  1. How do you handle things when your kid makes a mistake? Have you ever been caught unprepared? Just so sure it could not be your kid? Thing 1's struggle is not really a right or wrong thing, more of a health concern really, but it does bring up something which is...how do we allow ourselves to see what is really happening as opposed to what we want to be happening. I would love to know how all of you deal with such things.


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