gratitude-a-thon day 584: sort of ok

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Parenting is hard. And it’s crazy. And it’s really hard. Oh, I already said that.

But the thing is, it’s just hard. Oh, I said it again.

But it is.

I fully believe most parents are trying their damnedest to give to their kids the good stuff, the best of themselves, everything they never had that they wanted, and everything they were given that was gold. We read awful stories about parents that do the unspeakable, leaving us with our mouths hanging open to our knees, curious how these parents can even be called people. But more than not, I think most parents are all trying to give their kids the tools to have a happy life.

I mean, right?

But just because you’re trying to be a good parent, doesn’t mean you always have the all the answers as to how to be a good one. I do not. I do not have all the answers. Sometimes I’m like a brand new white board from the office aisle of Target.

Parenting is not like a serene pond, or gentle stream, or one of those little fountain things you can buy for your backyard to remind you to slow it on down. I mean, there are  moments when things are good, even great, but those are quickly swept away by the next fork in the road, the next real or perceived crisis, the next big decision. Parenting is more like a day of surfing. You’re in the water, you’re getting on your board, you’re up, you’re up, you’re up, engrossed in the exhilaration, the view, the beauty…… and you’re down.

Sometimes you’re on your game, and you know all the answers. You’re confident that every word out of your mouth is just right, that your guidance is pitch perfect, that you’re direction is spot on. Other times, you’re stumped as to how to handle a situation correctly. You flip through your mental encyclopedia, and find it completely outdated, or unreadable, or worst of all, empty. You flounder, fidget, stall for time, wondering where you’ll find the moves, the words, the wisdom.

Eventually you do. You figure out what to say, how to act as your child’s personal sherpa, and you dole out your guidance, hoping that 1) you are right 2) your kid is listening,  partially listening, or even just pretending to listen.

Lately parenting has become particularly challenging. I have to think more. I continue to give it my all, but some days seem to be one long math class (my WORST subject, and the source of endless nightmares, plus a summer of hives). On those days, I remember one thing, and that one thing is love. Go ahead and pull out your Hallmark violin, but I love my kids with a deep dive intensity, an all-in ferocity. I know I will always keep trying to find the right answers, the best Mapquest directions, the smartest GPS routes. Even when I feel like that person who bet everything on the final Jeopardy question and loses it all. Because that’s what you do as a parent. You just keep looking for the right answers.

And  sometimes you go with whatever it is you have. And that seems sort of ok. Not perfect, but sort of ok. Because some days, sort of ok, is just what you got.

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