Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way. ~ E.L. Doctorow
I have always loved that quote and I later ran across a quote from Anne Lamott in which she cited it and said that the same is true for parenting. I return to that idea often.
When I first became a parent, I wanted and needed to know that everything was going to turn out ok. I used to joke that I could spin any of their very normal behaviors into evidence that they would end up in prison. I was afraid a lot of the time and worried all of the time.
I still worry and I would still like to know how this story turns out but there is no way to know. We can only do our best and I'm trying not to look for reasons to worry anymore. I assume they are going to make mistakes and show terrible lapses in judgement and each time it happens I try to parent in that moment without the fear of what might come next.
That's not to imply that my kids don't do ridiculous things that make me think they should never be allowed to use sharp objects/drive a car/live on their own and I certainly don't mean to imply that I don't make my own share of mistakes. We are all messy over here.
But, as time goes on, I can see more clearly the people my kids are at heart and the kind of people they will be in the world. Maybe that makes it easier.
The other day, we visited friends across the park and were saying goodbye but the kids didn't want to wait. So, they headed home without us. We followed soon after and could see them in the distance, walking shoulder to shoulder, obviously engaged in conversation. The sun was going down and I was struck by that image as they walked up the hill towards our house--two silhouettes, two kids becoming people separate from us. Miguel put his arm around Zeca at one point and I couldn't help but think to myself, "I think we just might make it."
Check out my latest on the Star Tribune on this topic: It's a gift to see the people our children are becoming
PHOTO CREDIT: VIKKI REICH