Why am I a parent?

You know how you follow people on social media and then you feel like you are friends even though they have no idea you exist. Or maybe they do, but you're the 'creepy one' that keeps commenting overly nice things on their photos or sliding into their DM's when something in their stories makes you laugh so hard you pee a little? No? Just me?

Well I have done that to quite a few people and now they're my friends in my head even though we've never met.

All this to preface the story I'm about to tell with, "I was talking to one of my friends..."
So now you know when I say friend I mean friend in my head but they actually think I'm a creeper.

My friend posted something about their kid that was proof he was an incredible little person. I don't want to share the story because it's not mine to tell, but it was incredible. I messaged her saying that that was unreal and incredible. She messaged me back(maybe we are friends?) and said that she didn't know how she was supposed to raise someone so magical and that instead maybe she's supposed to let him raise her. I agreed saying that sometimes I look at Alice and think that she must be here to show me what life is about instead of the other way around.


That got me thinking about parenting. I understand, obviously, that there are a few things I can teach Alice.

Stoves are hot.
Knives are sharp.

But after that, what good am I, really? I can try to show her what I think it means to be kind and generous and accepting. And yes I will keep her safe from whatever I can. But as far as teaching her about life and being a good human and all that--I don't even have all that together myself!

I just don't know that I am able to teach her anything or 'raise' her the way people say you 'raise' children.

       

And everyone says they've learned so much more from their children than they thought they would or could or more than they could have ever taught them and that's all fine and good. But maybe it doesn't really need to be who teaches who.



Maybe I just get to watch Alice grow and be herself and instead of worrying about who is doing the learning and the teaching maybe I just get to wonder at who she is. Maybe I just get to watch her be and that alone gives me perspective and strength and joy.

And maybe she gets to watch me. And sure she probably watches me and a lot of the time it gives her anxiety but I hope it gives her perspective and strength and joy as well. Maybe I should stop worrying so much about making sure she knows and does 'all the things.'

I don't know. Anyone else have any ideas?

       


Minimally Minimalist

Yep. We watched it, too. Minimalism. That documentary on Netflix. If you still don't know what I'm talking about, go watch it. Actually read this first, then watch it.

We watched it and I was acutely aware of my thought trajectory and it was so surprising that I actually thought, "Is this what it's like to be brainwashed?" What I should have been saying was, "so this is what it's like to hear truth and recognize it." But isn't that what the brainwashers want me to think?...

There is a lot that we gleaned from the film. I went through my closet and shoes and that felt good. I went through the kitchen and that also felt good. Bathroom, books, movies and "junk drawer." Good, good, good.


But there was one thought I had while watching that really seared itself into my brain. Tyler articulated it so nicely. He said that filling your life with things distracts from what you think all of those things are for: the people in your life that you love.



It is so easy to buy things and hold onto things, telling yourself that you need those things in order for your family to be happy. Or you need those things in order for you to feel content and happy.

But the process of obtaining all of those things grows like a balloon in your life. And in order to make room for the balloon other things have to get pushed away and eventually out of your life. Things like family and bonding and love and the joy of watching someone you love learn and grow, try new things, and be a better person than the day before.  

Do I think I've pushed my Tyler and now, our Alice, away from me and out of my life in order to make room for things I think will make us happy? No, no no no no obviously I've never done that. Umm, actually, kind of...yes.

I did it unintentionally. Almost undetected. I wanted, and still want, for things that I think I need to be a complete, whole, happy person. But the truth is my happiest moments are filled with my family and friends instead of things.

That's just so hard to remember in all of those little tiny moments during the day when you see something and long to have it. When you click through to the site. When you sift and shop through all of these products looking for the one that will give you a little pinch of happiness. Or when you walk past the dollar section at Target, or any section for that matter cause I would like all the things that Target sells.

With all that being said, I am going to try really hard to remember that when I bring extra, unnecessary things into my life, I push something else just a little farther out of my life. And a lot of times that something else can be one of the things that brings me the most joy.

Here's to filling up my happiness well with the moments I have instead of the things I want.