Letting go early

What if I can’t give her what she needs?

this question became heavier as I took more responsibility for things that are out of my control.

I tend to shake off friendships who put too much pressure on my opinion, my approval. The world shouldn’t depend on me to function.

on a few occasions friends overreacted to my gut reaction to a sensitive topic. It was a hot political button, or politically correct expectation. I wasn’t their manager, church leader, community influencer. And I felt unafraid to share my two cents. I may have lost those friendships on a social media dispute. But then again, maybe we weren’t friends to begin with.

I read a friend’s retrospection. A gut reaction to explain her present happiness. It was a beautiful shockingly honest review. But I read it from the point of view of a mother. I am the mother who doesn’t want to be a martyr in retrospect. I want to inspire joy, and teach about self care. I never want to give my kids the burden of guilt for squishing the last ounce of happiness with their needs. I want them to witness my happiness with my husband so they know first hand how happiness looks like.

Bitterness can be addictive. But freedom is better.

last night jackie wanted to have a sleepover at the grandparent. Ivy wasn’t keen on it. I didn’t want to push her. She eventually agreed to go with Jackie, at Jackie’s persuasion. As we walked downhill, and she settled in while I was catching up with my parents, she started sobbing ugly tears. She wanted me. She wanted to be only with me. And as we reiterated the decision, I left her crying. She was fine after I closed the door and had a smooth sleepover. If she had walked back up to the house with me, it would have been a mood disaster.

Kids have abundant resources within to overcome discomfort, perceived or otherwise, and as a mother I tend to rescue more than I should in my overly sensitive state of mind. I overemphasize and I decide with my wrenched gut instead of my clear mind.

I let my kids struggle, and I push more lately. And I dismiss the guilt.

as I nag jackie to do her back exercises, and I dread her reaction and displeasure, today I started not thinking about her guilt or gratitude when she is old enough to understand the price we paid as parents.

I will continue to make her brush her teeth, take her to the dentist, to the doctor, to school, to all the places she complains about but are good for her. And I will not charge her interest on guilt. She drives me crazy at times, but I love her like crazy too.

her manners, her self awareness, her sense of safety, her body’s integrity as she strives dangerous things, her hungry curious mind, social drive… she is her own person. Who grows and develops independently than me. As I trust her to make mistakes, to have patience with her daydreaming, to challenge her with playful parenting, she will grow up. And I can’t wait for her to spread her wings and fly confidently wherever life will call her.

I can’t give her everything she needs. Not now, not later. I might as well accept that early and move on to enjoying what we can and should give wholeheartedly.

parenting is harder than I thought, but not for any reason I had previously considered. The hardship is in the details.