I had a great talk with my SIL yesterday morning. I came to the understanding that as long as I am a safe harbor for my children to come home to, where they can rest and regroup, they will develop the skills to handle whatever slings and arrows come their way, whether it be at school or whatever. I know it’s more complicated than that; but the idea that I don’t have to coddle and protect them from everything – which is my tendency and which I know ultimately harms them – it was good to come back to that realization.
In an airport recently I saw an indigenous man with a little boy, about my kids’ age. He kept track of his son but didn’t “herd” him. In fact he didn’t seem to give him any verbal direction at all. When they got to the front of the check-in line, the dad just walked up to the counter with the calm expectation that his son would follow him, and he did, carrying his little bag all serious and small. I couldn’t help but contrast how I “herd” my kids through things like that, always telling them what we’re going to do next, where to go, etc. It’s not that I want to idealize indigenous parenting styles, but it was just cool to see that there are many possible ways of doing things.
Last night Illyria threw up in bed, and it was epic. As I was hanging up the second load of laundry to dry, sniffing at my pajamas to see if I needed to toss them in too, I thought about how I would have felt in 2005 or 2006 or 2007 had I been able to peek through a window into the future, been able to see myself doing just this – cleaning up my child’s puke at midnight. And I just thought how happy I would have felt, and how happy I was in that moment, to be able to do that for my daughter. My daughter. My son. I am so lucky.
It was a nice end to a day of panic/anxiety as Gimli prepared for another journey away from us, 2 weeks in the middle east. Funny to find a moment of peace like that, in that way.