He is the most like me.
He is the one I butt heads with the most.
The one that first called me “mom”, and he’s growing up. He hangs somewhere in the midst between boy and man, lingering in each category for a while before returning to the other. Reminders of his boyhood like these sometimes catch me by surprise. I know they will become fewer and fewer. Car keys will replace small boyhood toys, a deep voice replacing his once squeaky coos. We’re in the phase of letting go. Very slowing letting go, but letting go all the same. It’s a stage I embrace and mourn at the same time. Nothing gives me greater joy than seeing him spread his wings, but the realization of how short the season of parenting is can be like a bomb inside. I’m not going to sit here and say enjoy every moment, because you won’t… and all that tends to do is make us, as mothers, feel bad about how we counted down the minutes till bedtime last night (or the last 27 nights…) BUT I will say respect the process. It is SUPPOSE to come with both waves of great relief and happiness that they are becoming more independent and also with a bittersweet tinged sadness that the baby you rocked and nursed and carried on your hip is slowly fading into a man.
And. It’s. Okay.
It’s okay to feel both. Just like it’s okay to have tough days intermixed with ones you feel like you are WINNING at this parenting gig! Life’s a great big ‘ole bowl of mess, filled with every kind of emotion and experience and effort. We were not meant to ride on a cloud of happiness and success our whole existence. This life is organic and messy; hard and beautiful; heartbreaking and soul lifting. All at once sometimes. Breathe it in. All of it. Don’t push that away. That is exactly what reminds you that you were created in God’s own image. That soul that stirs up all those thoughts and feelings and ultimately drives you back toward Him. Sometimes sending you to your knees in the process. Embrace that!
With the aftermath of any tragic news story involving a child I feel like every single parenting decision falls under a highly critical lens of public opinion. Instead of rallying around parents in the aftermath of a tragedy we lie in wait ready to attack every minuscule parenting decision they have every made and then ascertain why it certainly led to the tragedy that ensued and how it could have been avoided if the parents where only more like themselves – perfect.
The fact of the matter is we live in a fallen world and some accidents are just that – ACCIDENTS. Some with favorable outcomes. Some with life changing and gruesome outcomes. And in most cases the parents didn’t intend or foresee the harm that crept in and engulfed their family.
Imagine if we surrounded and supported families in their time of need. Imagine if we were confident enough in our own choices that we didn’t feel the need to pick apart others’ choices. Imagine that instead of looking down our noses on top of our high horse in our glass house we stepped out in love and showed those grieving families compassion and transparency. What if we let them know that we are not perfect either. We have all made mistakes and even small ones made within the perfect storm of events could have tragic outcomes. Most don’t, thankfully, but to some it is their constant reality. The stones thrown at people on a public, worldwide forum (internet – thrown mostly by those that DO NOT have all the facts) for any real or perceived lapse in judgement is a hail storm of evil like no other. And NOTHING is safe. The size of our family or lack there of. Our choice on how to birth our baby. Our choice on how to nourish our baby. Our choice on WHERE to feed our baby. On what sunscreens to use on them, where they should sleep, how they should sleep, when solid food gets introduced, when to allow them to use a public bathroom alone, how to educate them, when to front face them in an automobile, how long to keep them in a booster, whether or not to use kiddie-leashes, whether or not to feed them added sugars, or GMO’s or additives or food coloring. THE LIST IS ENDLESS and most decisions that we pick apart are superficial like these!
I am ready for moms to start rallying and becoming the voice of ENCOURAGEMENT to other moms. To inspire moms to share their lives, experiences and struggles with others instead of having everyone so scared to have REAL, RAW relationships in fear of being shamed by others for perceived “parenting fails”.
I made this video a couple of weeks ago and I hope it blesses you in your parenting journey!