Friday, December 5, 2008

It's a Practice

Sometimes I think parenting should be called a "practice," much like we say Dr. so and so practices medicine. "Mindy Porter has been practicing parenting for 7 years now..."

Parenting is the hardest thing I've ever done, while being the single most precious and important thing I've ever done. But so many times as I "practice it" I am faced with my own junk and issues...they stare me right in the face, often in two sets of eyes, one set big and chocolate, another set an unusual shade of light green.

Case in point...last nite we took my kids to a bday party: in a garage, streamers, disco ball, upbeat music...all channeling Hanna Montana. The space was full of crazy 6 and 7 years olds unabashedly wiggling and thrashing their bodies to the beat; having the time of their lives.

My introspective, sensitive, cerebral, kind hearted little boy plops down in a chair and becomes the spectator; so overwhelmed by it all there were even tears in his big eyes. Keep in mind, all the dancing machines in front of him are his 1st grade classmates---very familiar; sees them everyday. In other words, shouldn't be too intimidating.

So I proceed to take him in the house and "talk" to him, which amounted to more of a "I am so frustrated with you I could spit, why won't you just have fun, stop embarrassing yourself PLEEEEEZE!!!!" kind of rant.

Nice moves, Mindy. Way to shame your 7 year old for being EXACTLY like you were at his age!!!!

Long story short, I took a deep breath, remembered how my Father deals with me, and I simmered down. We managed to process through it and he got out on that dance floor like a young Kevin Bacon and cut the proverbial rug.

But the point is, my instinct as a parent was all wrong, completely non-grace based, and altogether a big foul up. I think I saw myself in him and deeply longed that he---who takes after me in so many ways---would not make the same mistakes I did. Not miss out on so much because of the shyness and overwhelming self awareness. Not make things harder than they have to be. I could go on.

In closing, as I practice parenting, I try to learn from my mistakes. My mistakes are all different, but originate from one common misstep... I am too busy trying to conform my sons into the image of who I think they should be, to recognize who God made them to be. Maybe if I could just work with how God wired them---individually and gloriously unique---I wouldn't find myself in so many aforementioned rants!?!

Yikes, I've got a lot of practicing to do!


Brandy said...

Oh my....I have a LOT of practicing to do too. I think something like this happens in my house daily!

Tales from the Crib said...

Oh Min, I wrote just today about how my Jackson has my "stress" trait and how I want to "fix" him so he doesn't go through life stressed out like I did. It IS so strange to see so much of ourselves in our children, our babies. But it is wise to remember that every day we are "practicing" at this mommy thing, and learning just as much from them as they do from us. What a life lesson...and blessing.