Yesterday, I took both of my kids with me to pick blackberries. I anticipated that this might not be the very best plan, but I persevered. Hope springs eternal, after all, and the childcare I’d anticipated having today fell through so it was pick berries with kids or don’t pick berries at all. Since blackberry season only lasts so long, I didn’t listen to the little voice telling me I would live to regret my decision.
The blackberries I found were amazing, so the expedition fulfilled its purpose. Getting those blackberries was a hard slog, though. There were many pant legs that needed to be untangled from the thorns, several frantic admonitions from me to stay nearby and not wander off, and more than one good berry-picking spot that had to be abandoned prematurely because my kids just couldn’t stay nearby any longer. Still, I had a bucket full of berries to show for it, and in the course of our picking we reached a playground, so it wasn’t so very bad.
After some time playing, I looked at my watch and realized it was time to get the kids home so that I could make dinner. The trip home should have taken 10 minutes, even accounting for the fact that we were walking at a three-year-old’s pace. It ended up taking us 50 minutes, and involved more than three unattractive yelling bouts from me. As I finally walked through the door it struck me that parenting is really all about learning to let go.
Parenting is …
… learning to let go of the grudge that I’m holding because of the way my kids behaved earlier.
… learning to let go of my need to set the agenda.
… learning to let go of my ideas about cleanliness.
… learning to let go of my preconceptions about how another person should behave.
… learning to let go of my children’s hands when they’re ready to walk on their own.
… learning to let go of my desire to accomplish things quickly.
… learning to let go of my fears and allow my children to climb and play and maybe even get hurt sometimes.
… learning to let go of my hang-ups about looking silly in public.
… learning to let go of my ideas about what clothes do and do not go together.
… learning to let go of my need for privacy.
… learning to let go of my babies themselves, who are less my babies each and every day.
I could have held on to the anger, the frustration and the anxiety from our berry-picking expedition. This time, I managed not to. I’m not always so successful, although I am getting better. I have no choice in the matter, really – my kids force me to get better. All that I can do is try to keep up, and remember that one day, I’m going to look back on all this and laugh.
How do your kids teach you to let go? Tell me all about it!
PS – Every month I do a monthly review of things I learned. Some are serious, some are funny, and all are hard-won. I will be running my August review on Friday, September 2. This time, I’ll invite you to share either what you learned in August, or what you learned over your summer vacation. I’d love it if you played along. Write a post on or before September 2 and come back here to include it in my link-up!