Monday, September 10, 2012

Time is Flying

When I first started writing here, I began by reflecting on this early memory of my son helping his dad.  I talked about how we have to create ways to engage our kids and let them act big and important.  It was such a super cute moment, little boy with his little brush, and one super ugly, blank canvass to attack.  Whatever strokes he laid down on that garage door were going to help and the only thing that could really go wrong could be fixed with soap and water.  I miss those days.

Lately, I realize that I am more and more hesitant to encourage that former two year old's independence.  I'm spending more time thinking about all the messes that might happen if my sons "pick up the brush".  Bullying, random violence, troubled or stressed out friends, and just garden variety school pressure occupy my thoughts.  And more and more, I feel like all I can really do is worry.  I've checked, and I'm not allowed to lock them up until it's safe outside.  More and more, I feel emotionally torn between keeping them from the world and losing them to the world.  Choosing to either stunt their self-confidence and autonomy or release them to the possibility of real dangers.  Have I mentioned that I miss the toddler years?

I want to protect them from the friends that are cutting, desperately wishing that the depths of human pain won't be witnessed quite so soon.  I want to shelter them from the gangbangers looking to fulfill their twisted initiation rite - physical violence to another person, any person, as they wait at the bus stop.  I want to teleport them to a time past high school where their own ideas for themselves can be realized instead of the forced constructs of standardized tests telling them what is possible.  I could shelter them from the world, drive them everywhere, allow visits with friends only in our own home, and provide private tutors instead of public schooling.  They'd be safe(r).  The only problem with that scenario is that with that level of life experience, I envision them still living in our home, with me doing everything for them, well into their thirties.

So, instead I have this reality.  My son is still helping fix the garage except higher up and using power tools.  Just like here, I'm out of the picture but waiting down below, out of sight, picking up pieces of debris. Loving other people is gut wrenching.  Loving children is heartbreak, in all the good and bad ways you can imagine.


  1. Thanks for putting things in perspective. It makes dealing with 2-year-old tantrums much more manageable.

  2. good for you. i know that letting your son on the roof was not easy! and power tools - it would be better if my son never in his life were allowed to use those! somethings are just not made for everybody :)

  3. Have enjoyed catching up your blog tonight. This one is a sweet way to end my day before going to sleep. Love this line: "Loving children is heartbreak, in all the good and bad ways you can imagine."