Monday, December 17, 2012

I'm reminded every day, 
how much better my kids are than me.
Just.  Plain.  Better.
I often find myself questioning whether I got the 'calling' all wrong.
Maybe I should've stayed single? 
Taken that job on the cruise ship? 
Became a singer, a back-up dancer, fulfilled all the other dreams that now, will never be reached, because I, instead, answered this call to motherhood?
Some days, I feel SO unworthy of the job.
So ill-equipped to do this.
I'm too selfish.  Too immature.  Too judgmental (of others, not my kids,)
too insecure.  
Therefore, a TERRIBLE influence and role model for my children. 
Maybe I could've been a MUCH better back-up dancer?
So poorly picked, I feel some days, to fill the shoes of 'mother' and actually CARE, nurture and help GROW these little people,
in to self-aware, self actualized, compassionate and selfless adults.
Some days I feel THEY'D be better off, if I left every day to go to in to the office.
They watch WAY too much T.V. as I sit in front of my computer and follow along on FB.  
Network.  Email.  Edit.
Pounce around from project to project.
But I allow myself to feel the guilt.  The doubt.  The unease that comes with this job.  The constant wondering if I'm doing enough. 
BEING enough.
I realize, it's what we do, as mothers.  Feel guilt.  Question our abilities.  It may get old to read about, but will never end, in our heads.  It's how we work.  Not looking for pity or sympathy,
but for ways for OURSELVES, to be better.
A flash of insight always comes when I step away from myself.
A spoonful of enlightenment in the oddest of places, the most random of moments, but always there, nonetheless, to shed some clarity on my deep questioning.
It is not my, or your job, to be AMAZING.  
A MIND-BLOWING BEING in the world of parenting, filling their childhood with constant joy, harmony, arts and crafts, zoo trips and dress-up play.
It is about just being there.  Whatever that means for YOU.
And for you?  Maybe it is all of those things.
For me?  It's providing stability.  Tough love.  Cuddling.  Patience.  Encouragement.  Courage, small pushes to inch them outside their comfort zone to be more, try more, DO more.
I started writing this blog post before the tragedy of Sandy Hook.
Once again, the landscape of our lives, looks different now.
Even MORE scary, more dark, more unimaginable, but real, at the same time.
Leaving us, as parents, with even MORE unease, doubt, anger, fear.  
I'm painfully aware, that for many of us, 
it takes a tragedy, an accident, an illness, to wake us up.
To bring perspective. 
The weight of the pain and suffering, 
FORCING us to slow down from its heaviness.
Remind us what not just life, but PARENTING is about.
The truth, that THIS.IS.IT.
IT'S ON US.
We get one shot at parenting.
Just one.  Each day.
That it's ON US, the parents, to step outside of our own past hurts, future fear, and be present in their lives, the best we can each day.
That it's okay if it's not pretty, laced with glitter and cupcakes, paper bag puppets, Barbie pool parties or family game nights.
That it's all about OUR version, so long as it's kind, nurturing, supportive and loving.
Most of us don't tuck our sweet, little angels in at night, much like the Sandy Hook parents,
wondering if this might be our last day with them.  
Rushing through teeth-brushing because it's irritating, 
skipping a book because we're tired and have work to do still,
saying only one prayer instead of two, because enough already.  
It's hard to think that way, but maybe we need to?
Maybe I need to?
Because, once again, we just don't know.
It breaks my heart, that it takes a tragedy, often times,
to show us what we're missing. 
To show us how MUCH we take for granted.
The subtleties but indescribable beauty found in the small moments of raising children.
I'm shown daily by my 8-year-old what REAL enthusiasm and excitement looks like, unjaded by cynism and sarcasm.  Everyday, I see him like a gem, sparkling in a field of black lava, dried up and old, darkened by its dramatic life.  But not Jack.  The kid's a beacon of optimism, brilliance and light,
unrelentingly curious about everything happening around him, reminding ME constantly, to BE PRESENT.
That he needs a hug, that I need to smile more, that I need to get off the computer.  (He actually says those things.)  Offering hugs, I think, because he thinks I need one more.
At only 6, Grace has the compassion and gentleness of Mother Theresa.  (Now, she is a girl.  She has her moments.  LOTS of moments.)  But she is more caring, more kind and considerate of others and their feelings, more generous, than I could ever hope to be.  So easily giving away her Barbies, her jewelry, you name it. . .if a friend wants it, she'll give it without batting an eyelash. 
And my 4-year-old, my sweetness.  Who's just trying to keep up, make himself heard, wanting so much to be older and independent.  Inheriting the compassion and kindness from his sister, the enthusiasm of his brother, and trying to make it his own.
The amazing teachers that THEY are.
A sweet, older gentlemen nudged me on the shoulder at the Tire store the other day, as I not-so-patiently waited for our car to be 'winterized' after our first big snow.
"Don't look so thrilled, mama,"  he said, with a warm smile on his face, a twinkle in his eye.
If I hadn't been so tired, I might've said, "Ah, Excuse me?
You're talking to me?"
But it was just the words I needed to hear.  From a total stranger.  A kind one, who's been there.
"My boys are grown now.  College.  6 foot 6.  Twins."
I smiled.
"But I've been there.  Enjoy it the best you can.  It goes so fast."
I glanced over at my two, coloring quietly.  Their little snow boots, dangling from the stools, eons it seems,
from the floor below them.
"I know it does.  I'm trying."
A gentle reminder, pulling me back to the present.
As I peered through the doorways of my sleeping babes Friday night,
their peaceful, sleeping faces lit softly by the Christmas lights strung in their rooms,
another moment of enlightenment.  Of clarity.
How lucky we are.  How scary the world.
And?
This is all we've got. 
We can ALWAYS do more.  Try harder.  Wake up, without a tragedy reminding us of the fragility of this life and the importance of the people in it.
Knowing in our hearts, the truth,
that the the answer, over and over, 
will be loving more.  Loving better.  Loving with all we've got.  Even if some days, it's just a little.  Trusting, that it will be enough.

 

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