My husband and I walked across the long bridge from the parking garage to the hospital. Our adult daughters were waiting for us. It was a sweet moment. They grew up as the best of friends but grew apart in recent years. To see them standing together, united because of a family emergency, poured tears that welled up and met my eyes…about the time my husband leaned over and said, “I wonder how long they can stand there without killing each other.”
Such a well-timed comment that released a chuckle inside me. I needed a moment of humor.
We need to keep our parenting in perspective. We need to see the serious stuff in the context of humor, the cute moments in the context of responsibility, and the influence in the context of faith.
Many times, we hear of someone else’s struggle and respond with a platitude of “You’ll get through it” or “Just wait until you have to deal with ________, because this is nothing compared to what’s coming!” Or we spew our personal experiences as if there is a one-size-fits-all parenting approach. Or we justify someone’s parenting approach, not because we think it is a wise approach but because we want to affirm the person. We need to be concerned with the lasting effect our investment into another parent’s life has, while responding well in the present, whether it’s with humor, sorrow, sympathy, or celebration.
Parenting is difficult. Life in general is riddled with struggles. But we can encourage each other, spurring each other onward so we don’t get stuck, and holding each other accountable to living with truth and integrity.
Many of the things we do as parents aren’t the failures we determine them to be. They’re opportunities to personally grow, change, and trust, even if we can’t fit something (which is often). We may be the only parents of our children, but we’re not the only parents. We can authentically share parenting and find a way to enjoy the journey despite the ups and downs.
Share your journey. Pay attention to who needs to share theirs.