I have a nonsense parent inside of me. She is militant. Messes/noises/fusses are her kryptonite. Boy, does she get pissed off easily, but she is locked onto the wrong target.
When I can quiet her, there is only one thing I really want. I want my child to be happy. I do not care if she behaves, because if she is truly happy, from the inside out, behavior won’t be an issue. So – why would I focus only on behavior?
I can’t. It makes me miserable. Instead, I fight hard to keep my loving light shining on her, and when I am able to be intentional in my parenting, all my efforts reach toward that single outcome; Happiness.
And this is tricky, because in the end, I don’t believe I can make my child happy. I have no idea what that would, or will look like because that is her own and incomprehensible life’s work.
Certainly she’ll stumble a bit, squeeze my pounding heart with her insolence, and cause me to lose sleep. I can’t keep her from the struggles. I can’t rob her of the gains these will bring. I can’t stop her from growing up, practicing all the different ways of being in the world, and picking some for herself. I can’t pick for her.
Sometimes she will just need to change, on the turn of a dime, and I will have to trust that she is going exactly where she needs to go, to feel out every part of this whole confusing place. I can properly grieve, in my own secret garden, what each turn replaces – the softness of babyhood, the wearing of witch hats and skeleton pajamas to preschool, the day she asked me what a jug was, because she and her friend had heard the word and neither of them knew, and the complete innocence of second grade – before things start to get interesting.
It is my job to see, with open eyes and a clear heart, each new and more beautiful version of her that emerges. I have to trust in her resiliency, and that she knows what is best. I can focus on the good, capable, phosphorescent bits she casts.
That said, I get to remember she is still small and unseasoned. I have to stay nearby. Encourage. Step in rarely. Be available and loving when she has taken a wrong turn in life. Comfort her.
Listen to her.
And often, stifle my reactions. Take as much time as I need to, but prune my words back. Let the fuss take its course, away from her. Find the seed in the midst of the fire. What is it about, really? Make a note to address that. Go back. Address only that; nothing extra…unless I have good fortune, and am invited to peer into her heart. I can only hope.
Then, when the wind has stilled, I must go to my safe circle. I must look deeply into the reflective pool that holds all my pruned cautions, worries, admonishments, and the still-glowing FEAR, and fish out what is left for me, alone, to address.
I must keep my heavy adult nonsense out of her backpack, pockets, and mostly, her heart. I must keep it from weighing her down, because she will gladly carry it, until she is worn down and can’t trek any further.
Sure, I will put some sand in her pockets. I am far too human. But I am also her biggest fan, and because of that I am hopeful.
I hope that when she needs a little break, and to sit, she will feel the swelling of her heart, overfilled with love. I hope she can turn her face to the wide sky. I hope she can smile at a million joyful memories. I hope she can feel the deep indigo of harder moments, and cherish them. And I hope she is whole, and shamelessly her own.