**Trigger Warning: This post contains references to death/suicide, and may be distressing or triggering for some readers. Please exercise wisdom and self-care before choosing to proceed.
Death was always an abstract-ish concept that was far removed and mostly hidden from me as a child. I suspect growing up in the church and being told that I would have “eternal life and never die” added to this abstract confusion. I grasp the concept now, but you can see how this may be a tricky notion for a small child to get their head around. I deem it, therefore, not overly helpful in my formative years.
*NB The ‘real stuff’ is a little further down the page- I’ll even throw in a heading so you know where to start (I’m super generous like that), so feel free to skip this section if you’re easily bored by navel-gazing re-introductions.
So, I’ve been in what I’m describing as an ‘Ecclesiastical’ funk. And not ecclesiastical as in the dictionary definition- that would be too ‘mainstream’, I talking more the general existential angst that permeates the biblical book of Ecclesiastes. You know, the whole “what is even the point?” deal. This is my funk. Nothing is new under the sun. Nothing will be said that hasn’t been said before. Consonants may be slightly rearranged, inflections added, but thoughts are rarely new.
I feel as if my writing is just noise, merely an addition to the already cacophonous internet. There are plenty who say what I say, and execute it with a written cadence and elegance I lack. The thing is; I’m actually okay with it. Really, truly okay. So feel free to put the finger violins and feigned sympathy away. I’m not sad. I’m not wallowing in self pity, I simply chose to remove myself from what I felt was no longer serving a purpose… that and writer’s block. It’s easy to take the self-care, community-conscious high ground when your creative juices have soured, or straight up stagnated! But then a thing happened…
Tonight this mama’s heart is burgeoning with an eclectic mix of excitement, anxiety, joy and sadness- none of which I was entirely anticipating. Tomorrow, our firstborn child aka Captain Responsible or Master Maturity departs for his longest stint away from home, and his first of hopefully many overseas adventures; a mission trip to Cambodia with his school.
Throughout these last fifteen years I’ve come to realise that motherhood is simply (oh the oxymoron that is the word ‘simply’ in this context) a perpetual journey of learning to love wholeheartedly; whilst simultaneously letting go.
I received the invitation from my friend Brett ‘Fish’ Anderson (please check out his amazing and diverse blog; Irresistibly Fish, you will not be disappointed) , to contribute an article to his series on Parenting, whilst I was smack bang in the middle of hosting my own magnificent personal pity party, all in honour of my perceived parental failure. So my initial response to the email was not exactly enthusiastic, more along the lines of: ‘OH HECK NO! What advice can I offer anyone?’
As the night progressed, and the drama around me settled, it became obvious that I needed to at least try and write something. The lie that I can’t contribute, just because my life hasn’t reached perfect equilibrium was designed to keep me, us, inactive and bound by our own insecurity, and I’m so done listening to lies!
So here’s 4 parenting tips that have worked for our family. I make no claims to be an expert, I’ve never read a single parenting book, nope, not one, ever! All I can offer is my life experience thus far, and a few things I’ve managed to learn whilst trying not to fall off this rickety old parenting roller-coaster.