#33 – Raw reflections during the Lenten Season
It’s time to live unguarded. To fill life’s toolbox with courage, shame, vulnerability and lots of Band-Aids. Will we fall? Yes! Faceplant for sure. But we have to try, have to rise strong and know we can.
“On Vulnerability” Part 2…here is March 2018’s updated version.
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 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 signified – whoever holds the book has just put themselves in a quiet, parental time out, essentially a “please 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 reach them and perform CPR if needed.
Of course, I’m always happy to get in a run, but I missed the parent-share conversations…the dinner plans no one had or the way it’s impossible to leave Costco for under $100. A simple exchange 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 and be VULNERABLE. To open ourselves. To share.
I often feel the weight of parenting lighten as I walk with our children to the car after their practices. It’s a comfort to know I’m not alone. To know even the mom with the “coolest outfits” according to my daughter has quirky insecurities too. Sometimes we just need to know we are not the only parents out there who:
- curses at Siri when she doesn’t listen
- checks her children’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
- panics about working after 15 years of staying home with the kids
- hates texting
- vacuums too much
- never knows what’s for dinner
- prays selfishly
- stays up way too late because knowing everyone is safe and asleep brings calm to a crazy day
- wipes the tears from our children’s eyes, and our own when their hearts are broken
- prays our children will find their best friend
- arrives late to pick up their child at school/practice/Bible Study
- delivers their child’s forgotten homework to school
- buys bras at Costco (one size fits most)
- yells at our children and regrets it profoundly seconds after
- colors the gray roots at home out of a box bought from the sale table at the supermarket
- clings 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.