Being a parent isn’t all highlight reels of Pinterest-worthy birthday parties and honor rolls. Being a parent, if parents want to be honest about it, can be the most scattered journey you will ever take.
I cringe when I know that someone is being pressured to become a parent because either their parents want grandkids or all of their friends are hooking up, going down the aisle, and creating little humans. It is not a decision to be rushed, and for most it is a decision they choose not to make, which is an honorable stance to take when so many children hang in limbo in the foster care system or end up wondering why they are here in the first place.
My choice to become a mother happened from a reckless disregard for my own life, so this little life saved me. I had become hellbent on destroying myself and it was the only surprise that turned my mind around. I made a soul promise to be a mother–gaining direction when all I had at the time was a broken compass and no will to live.
Not that it has been all roses, sunshine and rainbows. We have been through the highest highs and some debilitating lows. But it is that soul promise that keeps me moving.
I made a soul promise to love unconditionally, but hold him to the standards that my own parents set forth in raising me. I made a soul promise to keep moving when I feel like ceasing. I made a soul promise to stand up and stand beside my child no matter if many or any stand in agreement with us. To not hide my brokenness in order to create some impossible facade of perfection, but to teach that like a mosaic, even beautiful things can be made from shattered fragments.
I made a soul promise to find sure footing in fearful situations and to warn others not to get too comfortable if they feel they have carte blanche to be disrespectful.
This soul promise leads me to be a different mother than most–disregarding the molds of being a copy. I don’t parent for the sake of others’ approval, I parent in order to try and shape my child’s future in a way that he will know that I stand up, even when it is excruciating to be in the light of truth.
Parenting is not a way to make yourself look clever in the eyes of others. It is a soul promise you make that says, I love you no matter what, not, I condone what you do no matter what.
I don’t care how tough it gets, it is a commitment to the soul of the one/s entrusted to you. It is a whirlwind. It is beautiful madness. It is chaotic unpredictability.
It is a soul tie that will continue to affect humanity long after your body returns to the Earth, and your spirit rejoins the sky. You will do silly things, as will they. But most importantly are the actions you take after those moments, because their eyes do watch and detect hypocrisy better than a metal detector in a gold mine. Your life as a parent is filled with windows of opportunity that open and close constantly, and when faced with choices, you only have a small increment of time to build solid foundations and teach by example.
Do you reward a lie? Do you teach them to make excuses, be a victim, or ignore responsibility? Do you teach them to bully? Do you show them how to walk in their faith or that your faith is only as sure as a duet between a sand castle and the ocean? Do you teach them to hurt others with words? Do you teach them that forgiveness is a conditional action? Do you show them that respect should be the same for the prince as well as the pauper? Do you teach them to value people above things? Are you consistent? Do you teach them to be messy as long as someone else cleans it up? Do you practice what you preach?
Like the game Memory, the best parenting is when the words match the actions, because they will learn far more from what you are than from what you say.
The soul promise realizes that you do not parent in order to control a life that came through you, but is not your property. The soul promise allows them to have dreams that may not be your dreams, but can bloom nonetheless.
The soul promise is the soil, the water and the sun, able through storms to help fragile roots grab tight to life, making strong generations possible.