Hey Everyone! It’s me, the negligent blogger! Sorry, I’ll bring flowers next time.
The Banks’ residence has been it’s usual hubbub of activity. So hubbuby in fact, that I have a very exciting announcement to make. You see, something happened in this house, for the first time in more than two years (which coincidentally, is the approximate age of my youngest). For the first time, in over seven hundred and thirty days, I saw the very bottom of my laundry pile, and had every piece of clothing (minus the ones on bodies) cleaned, folded and tucked into newly purged drawers.
Do you know how many pieces of clothing belong to a 5-year-old, a 3-year-old and a 2-year-old?!?! A freaking lot…that’s how many. And they’re all so TINY! It’s like folding 15 loads of doll clothes. And in a household where regular activities include finger painting, face painting and baking…it’s no wonder my kids are dressed like this from time to time.
Yeah, if you’re looking for me I’ll be over in Proudofmyselfsville.
So anyway…among the many things that have happened, the thing I am about to try to capture took place as well. And as soon as it did, I thought, I gots to go put that there on that old blog I gots there.
So here it is…
The other night I was rocking Ben to sleep. He’s had a rough time falling asleep lately with his two-year molars making their way to the surface. I was looking at his sweet little sleeping face, literally praying for the patience I would need for the night ahead. Suddenly, I felt like a veil was pulled back, and I was seeing for the first time, a new layer of what makes being a parent so awesome.
Now before you go running to grab a pen, I am sure that almost every parent has had this little light bulb come on, but I really wanted to try to capture it so that I could tell my kids one day.
I thought of myself about ten years ago. I had a boss that I hated, who was obviously just a miserable woman disguised as a horrible person. Our relationship was remarkably similar to that of a parent and child, with myself in the parent roll and her in the thankless, take-take-take, need to be constantly reminded of manors roll. I won’t go into too many details as I’m pretty sure we’ve all worked for some form of this woman at some point in our lives. Anyway, ten years ago it would NEVER have occurred to me to pray for the patience to treat her with kindness or whatever. To pray to better myself, so that I could accept her more lovingly? Yeah right. I would have, if I prayed at all, prayed that she wouldn’t yell at me that day, or just drop off the face of the earth or something. She was pretty terrible. Anyway, in that moment, I thought of how much my heart’s capacity has expanded since becoming a parent.
Obviously, the parent/child relationship is unique for many reasons, but the point that was revealed to me that night is this. It is not news that NO ONE you encounter elsewhere in life, will ever push, taunt or test like your own child. They have a pretty short to-do list, where boundary expansion holds top billing. But, through this constant force to the perimeter of your limits, and only through it, you learn to distend yourself beyond what you ever thought you were capable of. Because of the absolute adoration we have for these little torturous beings, we do it without even noticing. The soaring skylines of your endless love are matched by a patience you have never had the opportunity to cultivate or practice prior to their constant testing. Your selfless concern for your child is as vast as the ocean of sleeplessness you had to swim across to get to where you are now. Your entirely new view of the (terrifying) world and your earnest wish and hope that it can be better, is as driven as your wishes and hopes that your child will grow into a happy, conscious, thoughtful adult that can be a driving force in the change the world so desperately needs. It is in that forced state of self-discovery coupled with unconditional love, and only there, that we reveal a truly selfless person who is as perfect as you are capable of being.
Yeah, yeah, we all grow. We also all yell from time to time and lose our patience continually. But there is a constant push to be more, to be better, that you don’t feel with such magnitude at any other time in your life, as you do in the relationship with your child.
Now, here’s the awesome part.
Even while we often feel like we are failing miserably, we know that our intentions are truly of the highest form a human can aspire to have; constantly searching the depths of our souls to know just how much more we can give. And it is in this state, knowing that though we may not be perfect, we are at our best, in the optimal human condition, that we get to in turn, give it all back to the people who inspired that very growth and awareness.
What a joy! To be able to give yourself, the most patient, kind, loving, selfless version of yourself (exceptions allowed!) entirely to your child. You can not give a greater gift and to have such an exquisite recipient of all your hard work…well, it’s pretty cool.
I’ve had this analogy hanging around in my head for the past little while and it goes something like this. It’s like, I’m a pottery jug, and I’ve spent my life painting my exterior with these dull, clay paints, trying desperately to fix myself up. But no matter how detailed or beautifully I paint myself, I could not ever reach my true potential, until I spent a long time in the kiln. The kiln’s fire, in this case, is the pain and suffering of truly trying to rise to the occasion of being worthy of raising these amazing little people. And the water this painstakingly crafted jug will hold is my children, who I will house, hold and care for in the one place perfectly crafted for them, until I pour them out to save the world. And they will. You’re welcome.
Who’s kidding who, I could use a little more time in the kiln, but you get the point.
Parent, children and the love cycle. The perfect eco-system.
I just thought that was neat. And, that this picture is pretty awesome.
I hope my point didn’t get buried in all of those words. I have a bad habit of beating the point to death.
Just a quick little disclaimer for my non-parent readers: I am sure that this analogy, of being at your best, then being afforded the ability to give your best back to your inspiration, could easily be replaced by following your calling in any manor. Whether it is to become the leader of the free world, or make really great coffee. It just so happens that my calling was to motherhood, but I totally, 100% believe, that this level of joy can be reached by discovering your calling, then doing whatever you have to do to rise to the occasion of enjoying it. I do not believe that children are the sole means to happiness, but they are in my life, and I just write what I know. Good luck and peace to you.