When my daughter turned 11, I spent the day reflecting on the person she was growing into and came to some realizations about parenting that are so important to share with all of you.
This girl right here.
There are times as a mother you wonder if you've just... failed. Anyone else ever feel like that? I know I sure have.
Then, there are so many more moments when you realize that the borrowed time with these beautiful souls has so much less to do with you than you ever thought.
I've met thousands of women across the globe. I've met women who have lived cushy lives and women who have lived with unimaginable abuse. At the very depths of their being, they can rise to their greatness regardless of who parents them! This is such a foreign concept to many of us who believe that we, as parents, are the ultimate decision makers for our children's future.
But I believe we've been wrong.
You see, I believe there is something in the depths of these children that we can't touch. We can't harm their soul and we can't take responsibility for that very soul when they rise up and take this world by storm. We place SO much guilt if we didn’t do this right or we didn’t do that right, if we don’t have enough money to afford what they’re friends have, or we have spoiled them too much. But do you know what our sole purpose is as parents: to keep them safe and show them the best love we can muster up because THAT'S what they deserve from us!
As we have now come into grown women and men, our parents can't take away our truth. They haven't harmed our soul. They may have not given you the greatest start in life but as Tony Robbins once said, "I thank my mom for (not giving me the greatest life) because she taught me resilience.”
I never used to believe this. I used to believe it was all me who helped my firstborn be as amazing as he was. Until I realized all the protection that I offered in the name of love could have easily made him more anxious as it did amazing. When my Second born son was getting kicked out of his class every day, I used to believe that the reason he was THAT way, was because I didn't pay as much attention to him as a middle child... until he, all of a sudden became a dream child with simply using a blend of essential oils. And then my third child came along.
It was then I realized that the deep character and personality of these beauties need our guidance, yes. But, many of you reading this need to hear that we haven't messed them up! We make mistakes, but listen to me: our children are soooo resilient. We sometimes yell or act like children ourselves sometimes. We are sometimes too distracted and too busy and sometimes aren't there to tuck them in at night. We sometimes make mistakes and we feel horrible. We sometimes are very, very, very imperfect. Sometimes we absolutely suck as parents….and in 5 quick minutes, we are back in the running for the mother-of-the-year award!
Despite all of that, they still rise. They are part of a deeper and greater force that we simply can't touch. They are a borrowed entity that are not “ours” to own. We simply guide them through with imperfect love and have the courage to let them find their way… when they fall we don’t try to fix them, for it is in my own failures I learn. When they rise we are there to cheer them on.
As my daughter turned 11, this brilliant old soul that she is, I realize how truly honoured I am. To be the mom of this precious beauty is something I don’t take lightly. I am reminded of my own truth as she helps me see myself through her eyes. Her eyes tell a story about me that I never saw in myself for the longest time. Through the eyes of these little ones, the unconditional love that we rarely offer ourselves can be found… right there in those innocent, forgiving, abandoning, unconditional eyes.
As I look at all of my children in this same way, I am reminded that they are our borrowed children. We don’t have long with them. May we stop the guilt that takes the time away from truly and simply loving our children the way they simply need us to. Forget “trying” so hard to be this kind of mom or that kind of mom. Our job is to love with our hearts. May we help them rise and guide them gently on this journey of life. They are rising...and I am grateful to be a part of their audience.