Today was one of those days where I was pulling into the sitter's driveway, both boys were standing in her front window, grinning and waving enthusiastically. My heart soared, so proud to call them mine, so happy to rush inside and scoop them up in my arms. Then I got inside and heard how one got two time outs for hair pulling, while the other jumped on my back without warning me first, so that I [embarrassingly] fell over, my legs knocked out from under me both literally and figuratively, and I wanted to get back in my car and just drive far, far away. Instead I smiled and nodded and apologized and slunk to the car, wiping away hot tears.
A few months ago, I was emailing with a co-worker about parenting. He confessed that he felt like he wasn't very good at this parenting thing. I confessed back that every single night, I pray to be a better parent and I feel like it never comes true. Maybe it isn't supposed to come true, I don't know. Maybe if we were all perfect, if our kids were always dressed well and clean and never ate candy at breakfast time, we'd become complacent. I question sometimes why Tommy has seizures and why Luke's worst behavior is always in front of other people and why Tommy lately thinks hair pulling is the best, most fun thing ever, but maybe it's like this to teach me to appreciate the little boy who didn't make a peep on a three hour airplane ride this summer, who most often sits through restaurant meals like an angel. To appreciate the fragility of life and the even littler boy who looked at his ridiculous crying mama, put his head on her shoulder and patted her back with the gentlest of touches. And maybe, just maybe, I'm not as bad as I think I am. Maybe someone bigger than me, someone better than me, knows I try to do my very best and that sometimes I fail and that's okay.
My friend's confession floored me, though, because he has five daughters. The oldest has lived in Heaven since she was 7 and he speaks of her with such pride (and how she must look down on him with pride of her own). His four younger girls are some of the most beautiful, well-rounded teenagers I've ever met. If ever anyone should be confident in parenting skills, it should be him.
But he isn't. And neither am I. And probably, neither are you. I wonder sometimes why my prayers aren't answered, why I don't feel confident, why on earth I've been entrusted to be so much for these two boys, but then, don't things always look better from above?