I decided to make some holiday magic this past weekend. My daughter and I got a tree. We put up some lights. Listened to Christmas tunes. Danced a bit. But I have to admit, I’ve been having a tough time lately. I’ve been thinking about my family holiday traditions when I was a kid. And
My perfectionist streak means that I often try to be everything to everyone. I am Super Mom. The one who always volunteers to bring snacks for soccer practice. And bakes her own bread, muffins, and pie every weekend. And makes applesauce from scratch. From apples that she picked herself. And tomato sauce from the tomatoes
“What’s wrong baby?”
“Mama, I need to poop.”
My first thought was literally, “Oh crap.”
After our hike, we ate a great meal and took a pint at a rustic hiking lodge with a clear view of our mountain. I could not help but think to myself: This is the kind of person that I want to be for my daughter. This powerful, determined, caring, supportive woman. We were changed and it was good.
“You are only free when you realize you belong no place — you belong every place — no place at all.” Maya Angelou
I quickly lose sight of the fact that she is only 4 and a half. I’ll be the first to admit that I have become complacent. I leave her to her own devices at times. Especially when I am trying to run a house by myself. She is also painfully independent (see aforementioned slamming of bedroom door). I trust her not to put peas up her nose or to eat crayons. I am far too trusting.
Dating as a single mom is way more difficult than I anticipated it would be. First, you need to find someone that you find attractive (physically, emotionally, intellectually). If the feeling is mutual, you have the added trial of figuring out if they are a good match for your kid. This is significantly harder. And there is no easy way to do it.
So, this parenting thing. It’s a learning process for sure. For her and for me. I have to step up the teaching. And not take it personally when she points out my missteps. Because I’ll continue to make them.
Life is so much easier when you have a support system of people who understand your life experiences. And who aren’t afraid to say, “I’ve been there and it gets easier.”
In this polished social media society, where parents seem so put together, it is easy to think that we are failing when we are kicked in the nose by our amazing daughter. But we are not. I am teaching my daughter the value of admitting fault. And she is teaching me so much about firsts, wonder, and patience.