At the risk of oversharenting, I’m sharing my parenting anyway because I love you, and I’d like to help. Also, there’s power in going first and saying,
Are we the only ones who sometimes wonder what’s normal?
We knew therapy would be in our future.
We have a child with a physical disability, and a child who is the brother of a child with a physical disability. That’s a ton of processing right there, and even though we’re a high-functioning family on the communicative spectrum, we’ve always believed our little people will sometimes need to say their things to someone who isn’t us.
Also, I’ve been slamming the kitchen drawers while I cook which means I’ve dipped below my line of coping and control and I’ve needed to say my things to someone too.
I totally hate trendy parental neurosis and over-diagnosis, but I’m thrilled to report my boys are in the safe happy hands of a professional, Jesus-loving, Smartie-offering, counselling friend. My heart’s hope-and-relief is so thick I could smear it on toast.
Because here’s the thing – ok actually here are three things:
I talk to so many women at the end of frayed ropes because their husbands are all cowboys-don’t-cry and I-don’t-need-help which is so last century. And I don’t want my boys becoming men who leave their wives to hold together the emotional health of the family. It’s not possible, and not fair.
Thankfully, they have a dad who isn’t like that.
When we got Cameron’s diagnosis we smacked into the hardest wall of our lives. (So far.) The grief and anger nearly crushed my man. I was scared he’d turn hardcore like Hemingway and pretend there was nothing to work through. But he never stopped talking to me, never hid his tears and his fist-slamming, and was completely ok to take medication for a bit to get the fist-slamming reasonably under control.
I want my boys to face their hearts, and be brave enough to drag into the light whatever hides there. I want them to understand how their thinking affects their feeling affects their doing.
We’re all raising future leaders, not so? And leaders need eyes of empathy to really see people and begin to turn the tide of loneliness and anxiety which is fast reaching terrifying global soul levels. Maybe, if our kids have processed some of their own pain, they’ll be better at helping others do the same.
Because listen, fellow moms and dads:
Our sons are princes of the Most High God. We have to equip them – minds and muscles – for the rigours of royal duty.
I’d love my boys to know in the marrow of their bones that the root of courage is humility.
I wrote here that –
It’s humility that fuels the bravery that risks rejection and failure.
It’s humility that strengthens us to muscle through terror – to do it anyway – because humility means we’re not so very much invested in saving face.
The opposite of invincible isn’t vincible. It’s vulnerable. And vulnerability is always braver than bravado. Vulnerability is the enormous daring of owning up to limitations, while bravado is just face-paint for when you’re terrified of what other people might think of you.
Except, there’s nothing courageous about hiding our embarrassment. Nothing courageous about pretending to be indestructible, to impress the people we think are watching. Nothing courageous about hurting the people we love most, because we were too proud to ask for help.
So I’m turning up the Coldplay in our kitchen and I’m ok for my boys to see real tears stream down [my] face because it’s all part of them getting settled and strengthened by the truth that lights will guide you home. And there is a powerful Someone who will fix you and me and our small humans by redeeming our pasts and securing our futures and sustaining us in all our todays, in gritty, glorious, unexpected ways.
As Najwa Zebian says –
These mountains that you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.
. . .
Have an absolutely marvellous weekend. Feel free to share this post with your people.
Here’s what’s on the menu, if you’re reading this in an email: