Some evenings the boys and I watch TV, and other evenings we play a board game. Sometimes we play hide and seek, and sometimes we spend a few hours separated in our own rooms.
And some nights we enter deep conversation about life and death, discipline, bedtimes, and why God allowed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to be murdered.
These talks happen with Jeremy, my deep-thinker who craves mature conversation if only for the feeling of being included. He challenges me as a mother on a daily basis, whether it’s through behavior that needs correcting or asking me if there is lava in hell. I’m challenged to keep my cool, to train and discipline calmly, and to respond to his difficult questions with answers he won’t have to unlearn later.
Recently I have discerned that my anxiety with parenting is two-fold: I am nervous because (a) I wholeheartedly want to prepare this little person to be a successful, responsible, and loving adult, and (b) I’m afraid of failing both him and myself. How many times I have parented out of fear, I cannot count.
Brené Brown has been hugely inspirational to me in recent weeks. This morning I finished watching a video with her that I’d been working on for several days. (There is only so much time in the day to sit down alone and pay attention.) At the end of the video she read aloud The Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto and I started weeping halfway through it. Dang. God gave her good words.
I’m good at giving people language to understand more fully and deeply what they already know. – Brené Brown
Yes she is.
I’m encouraged to write our own family manifesto, though I’d be hard-pressed to top hers. My goal is to have something not only tangible but also obtainable so when I’m knee-deep in these conversations we won’t get stuck.
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t thank God Almighty for balancing this house with a child who is not at all a deep thinker (at least, not yet). Jackson, as he sits across the room in his Spiderman costume, provides the right amount of lighthearted energy to keep me giggling. One day he’ll bring me tough questions, but thankfully, we’re not there yet. We’re only just working out what might happen to Tony Stark and Pepper Potts in Iron Man 3. And that’s totally fine with me.