I Wish I Would Have Known...
Caveat before I even get started, I didn’t...and I couldn’t.
But, God, do I wish I could.
I wish I would have known how much my own past was going to be present in my parenting. I wish that I would have known so I could have done more work before my kids arrived. I wish I would have known how much my past would affect them, even with all the work and healing I did before they arrived. I wish I would have known...
But we can’t and we don’t. And so I can’t and I didn’t. All I can do is to live my life where I am today, some of it amazing, and other parts of it kind of messy. My life looks like pretty much everyone else's...and I forget that all the time.
I think and feel that somehow my life is worse (or better) as the case may be. I fail to see that my life, how it plays out, how I show up, the abilities I have (and don’t) are all ok just was they are, and at the very same time, can use a little work.
We are all works in progress. And my past, my wounds, my traumas, my stuff...all of it is always in a state of flux. And so too is my children’s.
My son is home and it was a bit rough going last night. We fell into the old pattern. But we did something different last night. And as much as I would like to be able to step up to the parenting plate and say that I am the one that hit the homerun, it was not me. It was my son that batted that one in...all him.
And because of that and him, we were able to relate in a new way and manner, a deeper way, a more authentic and meaningful way. And I am so grateful that his healing is starting younger, and so perhaps, will not play out the way mine has and inflict the damage that it did.
I cannot change the past. I so wish that I could. But I can’t. But I can change the present. And we did, last night, my son led the way and I followed. And we arrived in a new place that we have never been before. It isn’t how I wanted it to go if I am honest. I would so prefer to be the leader...but after all we have been through and the very entrenched patterns we have had, it is a miracle that anything new happened at all.
Today he is 17 years old. I can’t believe that it has been that long, and also, it feels way longer. Sometimes the parenting road is long and hard, and treacherous. And sometimes you blink and lose a decade.
This relationship with him has been hard and has taken more of me than I have had to give on so many occasions. But here we are, still trying and making progress, halting as it is...it is still progress.
My son is only home for four days. But I am going to do my best to give him a great birthday today that is filled with all the love and affection that I truly feel for him. And I pray that I am able to love, to change, to grow and express the level of care, concern, love and awe I have for him. He is amazing. He is brilliant. He is my son and I adore him.
Parenting is way harder than I ever dreamed. It asks things of me that I do not possess and I am not even sure where to find them, as they are not things that I can purchase at the store. They are not things that I can borrow from others. They are not things that I grow overnight for use in tomorrow. Parenting is a daily grind that makes me feel like I can barely survive the sometimes minute by minute ups and downs. It is hard, rewarding, demanding, gut-wrenching, amazing, devastating and the best thing I have ever done in my life. And as I sit and reflect on my 17 year career of being his mom, I can see that the parenting could never be any different...because we are all:
And regardless of how often we fail, we succeed more. Every day. And my only task, is to just keep showing up, willing to learn, wiling to open more, care more, make myself more vulnerable than the day before. And to ride the tides, high and low, of parenting. And then, when all that is said and done, to just be present in this moment and pay attention to this child that has so challenged me, so much made me grow in ways that I never knew that I needed to and certainly didn’t want to. And be amazed one more time that he is here, that I am here and that we get a new chance today to do it better than we did it yesterday. And when I look at it like this, all that “I wish I would have known” quiets down and like a cat on a winter’s day, curls up in a corner and sleeps contentedly once more.