The heartbreak of daily parenting

This is what I can say about parenting without a shadow of a doubt: It will break your heart a million times. Because that is how much you care about your kid and that is how badly you don’t want to ruin them. There will be days were everything is easy and fun and funny and relaxed and filled with love you will wonder how anyone would possibly turn down the opportunity to have kids, as you can see with absolute clarity that this is simply it. Sometimes, fifteen minutes after you think that, you will coincidentally rue the day you thought having a child was a smart idea. But most of the time you will exist somewhere in the middle of those two feelings.

The list of what I want for my kids is lengthy and varied and encompasses more than I could have ever imagined tallying up. My own list is limited to survival and trying my best to be kind. I can see the issue with this disparity here…

Today, Little Sister, who has been so pumped about returning to soccer, fell apart on the field. She cried, she clung to us, she didn’t want to play, and she only wanted to play if we came out with her, the works. We waited it out; her coaches worked with her and her teammates were compassionate. She eventually rejoined the group and played great. But we had been here before and frankly I was irritated beyond belief. It would have been easier for almost everyone else if we had given up and given in, letting her sit out the game or the season.

It would have served everyone but her to do that. Because at some point, there will be obstacles that are scary or unknown or ones without any guaranteed return of success and she is going to have to make do with what she has in order to face it. It’s our job to help her uncover the truth that she has everything she needs to do that and sometimes that job sucks. Sometimes you sweat or cry or mentally curse while you are doing that. Sometimes you text your partner for the opposite side of the field all those words that you cannot say to your child and take deep breaths and try to root out your motives for feeling THIS BAD at this job.

And then somehow, the clouds break and the sun shines through and your kid joins the group or goes back to school even though they are over it and you feel like you could burst with pride over them taking small steps toward the future. And that hollow uneasy feeling that makes no room for your heart to beat in your chest sort of vanishes and you go on to the next thing be it beautiful or disastrous. That is what parenting is like.

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