|Being a parent is a whirlwind! Harrison can have the most profound and varied effect on my emotions; he can bring me to my knees in frustration, anxiety, and fear, and there’s also so much laughter, bewilderment, peace, joy, and (very occasionally) complete and total serenity and ease in knowing I’m doing a good job. Sometimes they all happen in one day! |
Kids don’t come with a handbook — I know that sounds obvious, but I honestly didn’t grasp just how true it would be until I had one — to rarely know with 100% certainty that I’m doing or saying the “right”. I think most moms wonder if they’re “doing it right” and sometimes even feel like they’re flat out failing at the most important job in the world.
Just the other week, I took it upon myself to take off his rose colored glasses for just a moment to tell him what has been going on in the world because I felt a sort of moral obligation. He erupted in tears and disbelief, and I immediately questioned my decision. See…he truly doesn’t see color, he hasn’t experienced any hatred yet, and he “thought racism ended with the civil war”. He was baffled and crushed and confused.
I get it — so am I. But man, you don’t want your kids to feel that way as a mom and you certainly don’t want to be the cause. It really affected him emotionally, and I wondered if I had done the right thing. Should I have let him stay unaware in his blissful little bubble thinking the rest of the world operates the same way we do, by loving everyone and treating everyone the same no matter what? I don’t think there’s a right answer. I did the best I could, and in the end I think I navigated the conversation fairly well but I will never really know if it was the “right” thing.
This photo, however, was from one of those very unusual serenity moments in parenthood. I’m reading this book in my book club called Discerning the Voice of God. And as usual, I’m behind schedule . So I’m racing him to Taekwondo Monday, listening to it on Audible, and he’s in the back reading his own book (or so I thought).
The book is talking about how wrong we often get it with God and why we don’t hear him despite our best intentions with prayer — We talk and talk and ask and ask, which are good, but do we take the time to sit in silence afterwards and just LISTEN for guidance and answers?. I had heard this part before. I don’t really know what prompted me to start it over, but I did.
I glance back at a traffic light, and my heart felt like it might burst, I was covered in chills, and keenly aware of how much impact I have on this small human. How many moments like this have I missed before? Before quarantine. Before I learned to slow down. Before I learned to pay more attention to what is important. Before I learned that he is watching and listening and soaking me in like a little sponge. Thank God I was there for this one. That image will be forever in my head bringing me a sense of peace.
It started an entire conversation about how he used to hear God more clearly than he does now and he wants to learn. As so now it’s my job to provide him some tools to learn like he asked. I was not like him when I was 10. I didn’t have that burning desire for spirituality. My God, I am just so blessed with this child.
And I am so blessed I’m present to help him navigate life, as I learn myself. I have the most amazing job in the world and I get to do it from home so I can be here for moments like this next one.
Yesterday he made a big mistake, and he was praying for guidance when I came downstairs to find my wallet at just the right time — to see him crying in the kitchen.
He had been mean to a friend, and he was hating on himself. He had no idea why he did it, and he was mortified and angry at himself and almost inconsolable, imagining how he would feel if someone had done the same to him.
I got to be there for those tears. I got to help him gather the courage to try and make it right. I got to walk with him next door and help him make his first amends. I got to help him write a heartfelt apology with no expectation for forgiveness. And then I got to watch forgiveness happen anyway as I watched them play all afternoon as though nothing had happened. I got to be the one to tell him that we all make mistakes, and that what we do afterwards is more important. I got to tell him that this was one of the most important lessons he would ever learn. And by then his tears were dry, and he summoned a chuckle and said “mom, you say that about all your lessons”. And then we came full circle on all the emotions and laughed.