This is the rainy season in Wichita. Rain is in the forecast several days each week. That rain may or may not bring with it severe storms, thunderstorm warnings, the works. It will probably bring rain and a day or two of being cooped up. I learned my lesson last year that I need to get my kids out to burn energy as much as possible on the days when the weather is halfway decent in order to save my sanity the rest of the time.
All of this to explain why I told my kids that we could go to the park to play and eat lunch on our way home from story time on Wednesday a couple of weeks ago, even though I really, really, really didn’t want to go to the park: it was a couple of degrees cooler than I would have liked, and a whole lot windier and wetter, thanks to storms the days before.
The whole drive, I offered alternatives that were basic rewordings of: let’s go eat lunch at home and we can play later. No, they want to go to the park.
So, we go to the park and all of the reasons I didn’t want to go to the park start proving perfectly accurate, right before my eyes. It’s cold. (Okay, fine, it’s a tiny bit chilly.) It’s wet. The kids are dropping peanut butter sandwiches in the dirt. They are setting soaked in puddles and caked in sand. I just.want.to.go.home. They finally “finish” eating and I give them 5 minutes to play before we load our wet selves into the van. Royal we, of course, because I’m dry and annoyed.
In a desperate attempt to get some good playing time in before The Wicked Witch makes her leave, Clare sprints to the play structure, Peter on her heels.
And, oh my gosh! Something, on this particular day, has clicked in my girls’ brain. Instead of playing on the baby equipment and being timid timid timid, she is going down the big slides and climbing back up. She is going up and down the up-to-now terrifying twisty tube slide. She is climbing and sliding and laughing. We stayed a whole lot longer than 5 minutes!
That triggered something in me. I was so dang proud of her for overcoming her fears, her preference for taking the proven road instead of pushing herself. At one point, while helping her climb, I literally teared up. These moments are what parenthood is all about. There is nothing better than watching your kids fly. And that Wednesday, my girl flew.
What a lesson in parenting, even when we don't want to! I'm not good at doing things -- anything! -- when my heart isn't in it. Sure I can push through and get it done, but probably not up to the standards I'm capable of. That day, my heart wasn't in my own promise to go to the park. Sure, I pushed through, but I had every intention of half-***ing it.
But parenting? Parenting isn't about us. It isn't about us at all. It is about emptying ourselves, sacrificing what we want, for the good of our kids. And the reward? That is even greater.
|My kiddos that day at the park|