Parenting is the single greatest achievement in balancing a person could ever experience. We walk the threshold of our child’s wants and needs, forever drawing and redrawing the boundary of tolerance and courage. We must be aware of our kid’s needs, become experts on when to seek experience outside the predetermined comfort level, and know when to protect them fiercely against an unfamiliar world.
It’s a tightrope walk and we don’t always get it right. In fact, in the early years, it seems we’re forever getting it ‘wrong’. Sometimes we read a situation and determine a leap is necessary. We encourage them to fly but they boomerang back to us. They madly flap their wings back to the sanctuary, scorning us for ever letting go. They squak their injustices angrily toward us as they stomp their way back to the nest.
Sometimes we hold on a bit too long. We cling to their hand as they pull away from us. We’re fearful they’re unprepared, they’ll fall right off the line, into the chasm of despair. Maybe it’s us… we’re terrified and haven’t quite figured out how to let go. How do we let them fall if we can’t see what lies on the other side? Our children become so angry… How dare we not trust them?! How could we prevent them from living their life?
Suddenly it’s clear, we let go when we should hold on and hold on when we should let go.
Parenting seems to be a never-ending series of making the “wrong” decision with the best intentions in mind.
Once in a while, we get it right and those moments are miraculous. Pride sweeps through our systems as our children celebrate small but monumental victories. They go off on their own accord and bring home their triumphs. They’ve gotten it right all on their own and we celebrate together, the evidence of their boldness, of their ability to thrive.
Or perhaps we hold on exactly when we should. Our sweet babes bury tear-filled faces in our shoulders. For once, they thank us for kissing the pain away. We marvel at our own abilities and hang on a bit longer. We imprint these moments. Give ourselves permission to remember how to be the medicine our child needs. These moments are treasured because as they grow, the opportunity to be ‘the hero’ dims and fades away.
Over time, the ebb and flow of this journey become clear to us. What once was a tightrope becomes a balance beam, We learn a little more about transitions, we worry a little less. We gain our footing and breathe. The journey is still treacherous, but we’re doing better than we think. The balance beam provides relief, but yet not quite too comfortable, as to keep us on our toes. So, we find new ways to put one foot in front of the other and guide our children through the unknowns.
And I guess that’s what parenting is, a chain of circumstances that help widen the threshold of knowing when to hold on and when to let go. We get a little more confident, a little more certain. We know we’re not perfect but we work together toward a better tomorrow. Somewhere along the way, we create this winding path of breathtaking moments in a unique journey that can only be moved by our kids. And every once in a while, we stop to breathe that in.
By the time they’ve grown, we’ve helped pave a road. Tear filled eyes, biting back our urge to hang on a little longer, we stand in the stillness. Their backs to as they walk boldly into the unknown, out to illuminate the way, all on their own. They choose when to seek comfort, and when to try.
They choose from our guidance,
gather confidence from our teachings,
learn depth from our wisdom,
how to take chances… how to be fearless…. How to fly.
This was the goal all along, and sometimes we lose sight of that. But, for every time we think we got it wrong, we’re somehow getting it right. We manage to create this resilient person with the ability to rise through adverse conditions.
We inspire them to go forth in their individual light with bravery in their hearts and determination in their spirit in order to change the world. And we silently pray at the edge of that road, maybe once in a while, they remember … (whether they need us or not) we’ll always be here for them to run home to.