Stop The Wind

My three year old son and I were playing at the lake.  I watched, amused, as the plan for his boats unfolded.  With an intense look on his face, he set to work on his fleet.  The wind was strong that day, repeatedly interfering with my son’s plans, tipping and scattering boats at the shoreline.

I could see my son’s frustration mounting.  Finally, he turned to me and demanded, “Mom, make the wind stop!”  I chuckled at the notion that my son thought I possessed that kind of power.  The would-be hero in me wanted – really wanted – to have that power.  An image of Deb Dunham, goddess of nature, waved her hand, effortlessly righting every wrong.  The longing to grant my child’s every wish, heal his every hurt, and protect him from every harm is my raw desire – unwise and impractical, yes, but very real.

I recall my baby’s first night at home.  A tiny, innocent, vulnerable little being in a too-big crib, in a too-big room, in a too-big world.  Too big to protect him from.  How would I ever keep him safe?  How would I keep my own heart from breaking when he suffered the inevitable hurt?

It occurred to me that this is the price a parent pays for the purchase of a love this big.  The amount of pain I would endure would be in direct proportion to the amount of love I feel.  And yet, I am willing to take that risk.

As the years go by, I am learning to rely on the natural balance of life as a stabilizer to keep me grounded, reminding me of the benefits of my limitations.  When I can’t be a perfect parent, my children learn tolerance for imperfection.  When I can’t do everything for them, they learn self-sufficiency.  The truth is, it is in not giving children all that they want that they receive all they need.  Rudolph Dreikurs said, “We cannot protect our children from life, therefore, it is essential that we prepare them for it.”

When my children are grown and re-inventing parenthood, I will empathize with their struggle to be everything to everyone.  And I will remind them to be gentle with themselves – for their benefit and mine.  After all, I will still be their mother, and they will still be running around with my heart.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sacha
    May 14, 2012 @ 13:44:37

    A beautiful Mom’s Day thought – “they will be still be running around with my heart.” Your writing continues to inspire me.

    Reply

  2. Heather Manolian
    May 16, 2012 @ 14:59:59

    that was my favorite line, too. A sobering thought for us parents, who somehow think there is a finite time of parenting from which we will emerge unscathed – when the reality is we go on being parents our whole lives.

    Reply

  3. Trackback: Where a Parent Really Is During Graduation | Chaos & Clarity

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