I’m never quite sure how we’re doing as parents. Sure, the kids tell us “you’re the best Dad in the world” and “You’re my favorite Mommy”. Those are the things we pay them to say.
Maybe we ought to do a weekly evaluation. “Here kids, fill out these questionnaires and THEN you can play on the Wii. Remember 5 is ‘Absolutely, Completely, Totally Satisfied’ and 1 is ‘I Wouldn’t Recommend You As Parents to Rocks’”.
Parenting is an uncertain road. There is no map. There’s no GPS with a non-conflict-oriented English woman named Debbie telling you how far off course you are. I tried charting the stars with an app on my iPad but all I figured out was that the North star isn’t as north as I thought.
As cliché as it sounds, I am coming to terms with the idea that it’s a “Do your best” situation. You teach what you know (and a few things you think you know). You try to live the example you want them to follow. You hope your successes are bigger and your mistakes smaller than they seem to you.
There are moments when parenting is like one of those paper boats you make out of paper and then set it into the water. You have something very fragile in your hands and you put it in the water and push it gently in the direction you want it to go. Then you hope it doesn’t sink before it gets there.
It’s not that temporary, but it feels like it. And they’re not that fragile, but they feel like it, too.
Unlike the paper boats, I get to course-correct with my kids. I get to be there for them, not stand on some distant bridge behind them and hope. I get to walk with them along the way and “do my best”.
There are times, though, that “my best” doesn’t seem like it’s enough. Sometimes “my best” really wasn’t. You make a mental note to yell less, love more and show them the way to be. Sometimes, it works. There are moments when it is enough. Moments when “our best” really was “our best”.
This happened this week, with both of our kids in completely different paper boat situations.
The other night the kids got to “pick a book and read to Mommy and Daddy”. Emma took a book from the shelf and went up to her top bunk to read to me. She read the story of Esther from her Bible. A story she chose from a book that she chose.
This morning, we went to a Andrew’s classroom Thanksgiving play. The entire class was involved and they all did a fantastic job. The play ended, the snacks began and Kristie and I took a stroll around the room. These posters filled up one section of the wall. (I apologize for the blurriness, it look fine on the phone. Oops.)
I’ll go ahead and give us a “4” for this week. (But only a “2” for the photo.)