A friend called me today and we were talking about a major decision she had to make that involved her kids. As we talked about the pros and cons of the decision, I said to her, "You know, parenting is not for the faint of heart." And you know what? It really isn't. It's not for the faint of heart at all.
It's watching their chubby little legs run fast down the sidewalk and seeing that they're going to trip but not being able to get there fast enough.
It's holding them and carrying them upstairs and then suddenly realizing that your arms can hardly sustain their weight anymore.
It's rocking and singing and reading at bedtime and then them telling you that they don't need you to do any of that at all. And suddenly, you have hours left of your night — the hours you always dreamed of but now, you're not so sure.
It's dropping them off at school and watching them walk into the building and holding your breath — literally, holding your breath — until you see some kid say hello to them.
It's what's doing what is best for them, even though they will tell you that you're ruining their lives.
It's picking out ties for the homecoming dance or a dress for prom, only to realize that while you're cool enough (thankfully) to go help choose the clothes, that they really don't want you to hang around too long to take pictures.
It's college acceptance letters with promises of your baby leaving.
It's wedding days or living abroad and you're so very proud, but it just makes you miss those chubby legs, running down the sidewalk.
For me, it's now a small boy looking into the great, wide open and telling me about all the things he will do and see and be. And it's a baby girl who throws popcorn in Target but her determination will truly take the world by storm. It's the promise of them finding their own way — the dream of them becoming who they already are — that isn't for the faint of heart in the here and now.
For all of you, parenting in all the ways we do and at all the stages, it's just not for the faint of heart. It really is for the warrior and we need our tribe. My friend needed to talk to me this morning, but I needed to hear from her, too. We're all in this together, no matter the age or the stage.
Kara knows that mothering is a way to find identity, and she writes on her own blog, Mothering the Divide, about the divide it is to mother children, spirit, and the sacred. Come, join her tribe on Facebook.