#4 – On Vulnerability – Part 2: 40 days of raw recollections during the Lenten Season
When our children were younger, I would accompany them to birthday parties, playdates, practices, and other events and watch, wait, and chat with other parents. I loved connecting, it was like I would imagine Eharmony for parents. A time to find your tribe of trusted moms and dads, then ever-so-carefully pick a few who relate to your cheeky humor, and pray your kids and theirs were in the next room bonding over a juice box.
As our kids aged, I noticed parents would leave these events, and return at the “pick up time”. I always opted to stay, plopping down on the floor, cherishing my chats with the few other parents who would sit in their comfy cup holding canvas chairs (such a great invention). Sure, sometimes, I was the mom who brought a book/prop which other parents respectfully knew meant – whoever holds the book has just put themselves in a quiet, parental time out, a virtual “do not disturb sign”.
The kids got a little older and there was another shift. Either I grew more confident (or less patient waiting by myself) and would run while they practiced. As long as I was within a mom’s stone’s throw between them, I felt I could still get to them and perform CPR as needed. Of course, I’m always happy to get in a run, but I missed the parent-share conversations. The words exchanged between moms and dads that only the gap of time when our children are engaged with their friends allows.
Then one night, all three of our children had events simultaneously, and a tough moment ensued. Clearly, we had to pick our least favorite child, leave them at their designated practice and accompany the others.
Kidding. Our eldest was the default, and since some nights I was the lone mom hanging out for the two-hour stretch at swim practice anyway, I figured she’d be okay while I drove our son to baseball. As I drove away, of course thinking the worst, it was one of the few times I was grateful our daughter had a phone. Plus, at baseball, there were other helicopter parents like myself to share best practices, a clear bonus.
Our children’s activities, whether we realize it or not, give us a chance to pause and realize we’re not the only ones bouncing around blindly in this parenting pinball game. While our kids solidify their friendships at a birthday party or discover team sports and aggression are not in their design, we are given the opportunity through conversation to share ourselves with other parents.
I frequently feel the weight of parenting lightened as I walk with our children to the car, vindicated that I am not the only parent who:
- yells at my children and regrets it profoundly seconds after
- colors my gray roots at home out of a box
- curses at Siri when she doesn’t listen
- checks her daughter’s texts
- never checks pockets before washing the laundry
- considers cereal dinner
- takes apart the washing machine, finds the penny bonking around, and ends up with extra screws when reassembling
- stays up way too late listening to our children’s worries that only bubble up at bedtime
- wipes the tears from our children’s eyes, and our own when their hearts are broken
- prays our children will find their best friend
- forgets to pick up their child at school/practice/Bible Study
- delivers their child’s forgotten homework to school
- buys bras at Costco
- panics about working after 15 years of staying home with the kids
- clutches to their children – as someone who is way too young dies in a car accident, from a health complication, or God forbid — inside their school.
Allowing ourselves to be transparent, and invest in relationships will only make us better parents. It takes pluck to be vulnerable, but there is courage in the imperfect, strength in sharing, and certainty in the uncertain.
Dig Deep: Time your run, then challenge yourself to do the same run faster tomorrow.
Lenten Challenge: “Give feet to your faith”. Feed the hungry, pray for the sick, and share your grace with everyone who crosses your path.