Every little thing is gonna be all right
Even disruptions and disasters can’t stop the momentum forward into the vast future your kids unrelentingly enter. They hurtle toward their inevitable separations from you with hardly a thought…the natural order of things…and scramble as you might, you can’t slow the march of time to suit your learning curve of how to do it “exactly, precisely, without error” right.
It’s good to remember that you can’t stop life. You can’t fix it or change it. You operate with the understanding of a moment, like we all do. Hindsight isn’t just 20/20, it’s like super power laser-improved vision! We don’t look back and “see clearly,” we look back and “see supernaturally” or perhaps I should say, “We see magically what we want to see.”
We imagine that if there had been one tweak here, or an intervention there, or a changed focus/process/ practice/tool, an entirely different child would have emerged (the fantasy “child of ours” we construct in our minds, free of mishaps and pain, free of that person’s own will or choices).
But without the benefit of having actually used that focus, practice, tool, or process, we can’t know what the hidden liabilities of that “system” might have been. They are hidden from us because we never lived it. We agonize over what never was because it never was—we didn’t ever see what would have vexed us or not worked! We weren’t the kind of person at that time to carry through that perspective or we would have.
What can be done, however, at any new moment, is we can choose anew. If you started your parenting journey with rigidity (schedules, rules, consequences for disobediences) and now realize you want a more relaxed, attentive-to-feelings, personally-involved life with your children, start today!
If you were “unschooly” for the last 5 years and discover that that way of being has left you all at loose ends, and you wish you had a routine you could predict and count on, it’s fine to establish one now.
Your inklings that choices you made before are short on some other aspect of living and loving are clues to what you need to do today to create a harmonious home now.
The past is past. The consequences of those choices are in. That’s what prompts you to choose newly and with fresh wisdom and optimism. You believe you can improve on your life—what a gift!
It’s a both/and journey, this living with children thing—a little structure to keep you sane, a little letting go to foster room for feelings and connection. That’s the tightrope we all walk and that toggling is what creates the feeling of dislocation sometimes. Just know that’s how it’s supposed to work, how we all do it, how we were all raised, really.
Then tragedy comes in the form of a sick parent, or a lost job, or natural disaster, or divorce, or a child’s failure to master some essential school subject.
You respond—as you can, in this moment, with the awareness you have.
Then you recover, in the next moment, with the awareness you gained in the last one.
Then you rebuild, in the following moment, with the conviction that what you now know is better suited to who you all are today.
Then one day, your children grow up and leave, and become the people they can’t help but be.
Every little thing that you did, tweaked, tested, appropriated, expressed, tried, shared, regretted, and lived will be inside your adult children, guiding them, shaping them (even when they choose differently than you did). And that’s okay too. That’s what we all have done—none of us is exactly like our parents, but we are who we are today because we grew up with them.
Even when there are gross acts of misconduct in a family, you can still right the ship today, in this moment. Don’t look back or you might turn to salt. You’re a conscious and conscientious person. Use that asset to your advantage. Keep going.
Mostly, and most importantly, remind yourself: every little thing is gonna be all right.
Cross-posted on facebook.
Image © Innaastakhova | Dreamstime.com