We have these expectations of what life will be. I remember the day I held both of my children in my arms for the first time. I was filled with such excitement and hope but looking back now, I realize how naive I was to not realize the complexity of the years I would have ahead of me. As a young girl, I often thought about getting married and having a family. I remember playing that silly game where I folded paper to fit over my fingers and moved it back and forth to determine the number of kids I would have in the future. As that silly game and my preconceived notions disappeared into reality, I sit here thinking how different raising and mentoring kids is from what I ever imagined. I had no idea the constant battle it would be to navigate through a world that is unforgiving and full of contempt. The dreams of tribes and villages supporting me in my parental journey disappeared in a puff of smoke. Some days it is literally just me fighting for them against a world who enjoys being hypocritical and unkind. I wouldn’t change a thing if I knew then what I have learned now but I would have been more prepared. We are not dismissed of our duties or worries EVER, not even when kids turn 18 and leave the home we provide since the day they were born. The more they walk to and through adulthood, the more serious and difficult our job becomes. Parenting is never easy. We do not win awards for the time and heart we devote to the family we create. We do wear marks of contempt, scorn, disappointment, loneliness, failure and shame as the world points a finger and continues to condemn.
This is is shout-out to all the parents who have done their best. It is a shout out to parents who have been labeled not good enough by the critics of the world. Even now, when the whole world gives up on these kids, I stand feeble but more determined than ever to be their advocate and love them through every difficult time or bad decision they make. I will love them when life is good and I will celebrate every success they ever have. But I will stand by and love them through their failures as well and I will never limit their potential because of mistakes they make. I’ll leave that to the rest of the world. The world can choose contempt and hate but I will choose love every-time. So to all you critics and parents who think you can do better, I have a question for you. Are you part of the village? If not, maybe it is people like you who are the biggest problem of all.
On the hardest days when my heart is breaking, I think back to the hope and love I felt that moment I first cradled them in my arms and just for a moment I let myself go back to a simpler time as I wipe the tear that drips from my eye.