It feels daunting sometimes, this parenting thing. Looking at the big picture of raising these kids, helping them become who they are, I feel woefully under qualified. I feel like I am looking out over this vast space at place out on the horizon where we will eventually end up. A place where the boys will be grown, where we will have done what ever it is we did and let them go into their own orbit. I hope that the trajectory that we set them on is the right one but once we let go it is no longer our flight path but theirs. But that letting go isn’t in some indeterminate future. It’s yesterday when I dropped Primo off at Sunday school and no longer was the only one telling him stories. It is tomorrow when Segundo looks both ways and crosses the street to play at the neighbors house. They are small releases in the same orbit. More like spaces walks while still tethered to the ship, but still letting go.
How do you know when to let go and when to pull them closer? Yesterday Primo was riding his balance bike down a steep hill. He was flying almost. Feet out, wind in his face as we watched nervously. We were letting go, letting him experience the danger and the adventure. But he crashed. Too fast, too squirlly. He slid on the pavement leaving road rash on both legs and we ran down to hold him close. Feeling like we were to blame for this, we let go too much. But kids fall and get back up. They gain the experience not just in the safety and praise, but in the adventure and the danger. Still how do you know when to let go and when to pull them closer?
I know I am a good dad. I don’t always know what I am doing, or have the right answers. I lose my patience and sometimes break my promises, but I let my boys know that I love them daily. They see how I love their mother and learn how to treat a woman. When I make a mistake I acknowledge it and have even had to put myself in time out once or twice. I understand that what I am teaching them has very little to do with what I am telling them and more to do with what I am showing them. When I start to feel overwhelmed by the journey of parenthood and the idea of how my kids will turn out I try to remember that very thing. I am modeling that future person today and the lessons I teach them need to first be learned by me.
you can find more photos from mark at his website Indie Image