It’s impossible to prepare for parenthood. Yes you can anticipate the sleepless nights, the constant vigilance on kids as they grow, making sure they are safe, healthy and happy. Easy stuff. But who can honestly anticipate the acute heart break that eventually settles in your soul as these babies turn into little adults, and learn how to navigate the world. It’s the stuff that was written in small print when you bring these wonderful creatures into the world. And you can’t walk away from it.
I give life lessons and love willingly. I also have to be strong enough to receive the mental and verbal rocks that get thrown at me, and have to be resilient enough to either avoid them, or if I’m hit, stand back up and continue giving life lessons and love.
When those rocks come hurtling at me out of nowhere, I have to dig into the recesses of my parenting brain and execute defensive maneuvers. This could include verbal tactics to help illuminate and broaden the small, self-absorbed world of a teen. If the claws come out and further attack ensues, I implement a containment plan: Punishment. And because their world is so fucking small, their life resumes rather quickly. The rocks get put away, claws retracted. I on the other hand, nurse my wounds for days. My whole body permanently tattooed with more invisible battle scars.
Rinse and repeat.
There’s nothing clinical about this job. It comes with strong emotional and physical bonds. It’s not for the faint of heart. We don’t have armor to be emotionally safe from the havoc of a growing child. The love we feel for these creatures is all consuming. Yesterday I had a fleeting moment of wondering what it would be like to be child-free. Or at the minimum to be free of the anguish, pain and heartache once reserved for the comparatively flighty world of dating.
I need to invest in some serious padding, because I am committed to this job forever. I also need to invest in some self-control because after all, as the husband reminds me, these creatures we love so much are not in control of their emotions. Which makes it all the more important that we stay in control of ours.
And I do so love these creatures.