Thursday, December 17, 2009

Do you want to know what really scares me?

This guy. 
I know every one of you who reads this blog who has children knows that feeling. It's a kicked-in-the-gut, stuck-in-a-nightmare, absolutely bowled entirely over by the enormity of what's entrusted to us as parents kind of feeling.  I'm so very, very imperfect myself-- how in the world am I supposed to know how to raise him to be everything I hope and dream and wish for with every fiber of my being?

 Some of the time-- lots of the time, usually-- I feel pretty OK about the job I'm doing.  My kids are well-fed, well-dressed, well-enriched and well-loved as much as your average kiddo, and probably a good bit more than some.  I worry, of course.  Who doesn't?  I worry about the baby, whose health seems somehow fragile even as he bowls over furniture and speaks little phrases, all before his first birthday.  I worry about the big boy as he begins to navigate the world without me at his side.  I cried the other day when he told me that some older children in his new Primary class had told him, when he announced "I'm three-and-a-half (which he firmly believes he is, although he's not yet three) that he was only two.  "But I NOT, Mommy" he told me.  It's the first time I knew of that he had felt small and helpless and without power and I was not there to give comfort and hugs (and tell those bullies where to get off, too.)

 John Harper will be OK.  He's a child of supreme--well, normalcy.  Of course we find him to be unendingly wonderful and handsome and clever, but his ability to steer an even course is evident even now.  He's Adam.  My husband is the most unflappable person I know--the yin to my yang.  I'm plenty flappable for the both of us.  Like Grady. 

Grady is me.
It's incredibly difficult, I'm finding, to parent yourself.  All your flaws are right there, magnified, and since they are your weaknesses, it's really hard to find the strength to help someone else overcome them.  He's a boy of huge emotions.  His capacity for love overwhelms me daily.  And the other side of this--his mercurial temper, his impulsiveness, his sudden,violent eruptions, overwhelm me, too.  I'm scared,sometimes, by how un-normal he is.

I often feel as if I'm tight-rope walking as we go through our days.  I have the feeling-- a real, visceral sensation-- that Grady walks on tip-toe down a narrow and precarious path. 

On one side-- everything I don't want for him. 

On the other?  Great things--things I cannot imagine, even through the rose-colored glasses of the dreamiest of mother's for her precious first-born child.

I feel, very frequently, like the slightest misstep, the least miscalculation in how I react might sway him.

And that feeling is the scariest thing I've ever known.

All of human wisdom can be summed up by two words-- wait, and hope.
-Alexander Dumas

May your weekend (and all your days) be filled with the limitless possibility that is hope.


Joy said...

Oh, Melissa! Grady is positively wonderful, just like his mama. I know the feeling though. Finn is me. With his impatience, easy frustration, high expectations, and high energy, he IS me. Paulie, interestingly, is also me in alot of ways (interesting since I didn't give birth to him). I struggle most in figuring out how to parent them. How to help them navigate without trying to eradicate the things that bother me about my own personality. We'll figure it out though...or they'll have lots of fodder for therapy one day. :)

linda said...

Meliss, this is why parents laugh and dream and enjoy--and pray a lot. You and Adam are perfect parents for G and JH. Great G'ma Spooner says so!

Erstwhile Editor said...

You're onto something here -- a new genre of self-help/parenting/photography/poetry. Find a publisher!

Gremlina said...

well I think you hit on every struggle I've had this week. it hits painfully (& hope-fully) close to home. now we commiserate over raising them--perhaps one day they'll do this over the job we did...

sara zales said...

Hi Melissa!
This is Sara Zales (Madeline's friend) and I thought you might enjoy this particular blog. This lady shops mostly (if not all) at thrift stores and then shows how she transforms what she found. This blog is one that I continuously visit. Oh, and I'm pretty much hooked on Eddie Ross's blog too!

nicola@which name? said...

what a lovely post. you are clearly such a wonderful mama and you are right...we all feel that way. i posted recently about the tightrope feeling too (although from a slightly different view point)...we can just hold our balance, look ahead and enjoy the moment and the ride.

your blog is looking lovely. i haven't visited you here in awhile!