Posted on | August 28, 2013 | 2 Comments
Last night, I cradled my son in my heart. I tucked him, soft and sweet, into his bed, waited while he fell asleep, then I picked him up in my mind’s arms and cradled him close in my heart, as I do every night, when I tiptoe from his room.
I’ve been accused of babying him, of letting him get away with too much too often. I’ve been accused of giving in too often, of caving too many times, of allowing him to run over me a little, day by day, minute by minute. I’ve been accused of so many things… nursing too long, nursing too short, planning to hold him back from kindergarten, sending him to private school, buying him a pink shirt, cutting his hair… the list goes on. Everyone has a gripe, everyone has a moment when they know better or wiser or greater things than me or you or the parent in the next aisle of the grocery store. Because it’s what we do, I guess, we always think our way is best… better than someone or anyone else. We minimize our short comings to celebrate our successes. It’s what the Internet is for, right? To point out to the world that we’re doing it right during that one snapshot in time when the lighting is just right and our child is smiling, and the stains on his shirt are hidden by this or that, and no one can see the cobwebs in the corner. We celebrate our successes.
And we should.
I have many shortcomings as a parent.
It’s true that I cave a lot when faced with pressure at the end of a long day of work.
It’s true that I compromise when maybe I should enforce, I coddle when I should be stern.
I snap when I should explain, I give up when I should stand firm, I yell more often than I’d like at silly and mundane things that shouldn’t be yelled at.
All of it is true. I fail my child daily, weekly, and sometimes even hourly.
But at the end of every day, I tuck him, sweet and soft, into his bed, wait for him to fall asleep and then cradle him in my heart with all of my other precious things. At the end of every day, I know and I think that yes, he knows, too, that in the midst of all my shortcomings, the one thing I can not fail at is loving my child.
I love him just enough.
I love him just as much as it is possible to love a perfectly imperfect person who wanders the earth with your heart and soul and dreams and hopes tucked into his curls, behind his ears, and in the pockets of his clothes.
We can fail daily, minute by minute, sometimes second after second at being the best or the brightest or the most spectacular parent in any room… but you know as well as I do, that it is in those quiet moments, when you rock your child in the corners of your mind, when you count the hairs on their head from memory and cradle them snug in your heart… it is in those moments, that every parent is made perfect.