I don’t think we can teach our kids everything they need to know. In fact, I think we are much more likely to teach them what not to do. Raising a human is not for the faint of heart. And it’s not an experience that I would always call magical. But I would die for him no questions asked, so it all shakes out in the end. When I see Moms posting pictures of their kids saying “this is the reason I breathe”, I laugh because I know for a fact she was probably frustrated as hell trying to take that perfect picture. This is how we are right? We spend all day guiding and caring for this person and some days are much better than others. Then we lay in bed at night and cry and go over every detail that could have been done better.
As Glennon Doyle says, “We show up, we screw up, we apologize, we start over”. This is not only my approach to parenting but life in general. There’s just no truer thing. It’s hard and it’s beautiful. All of it. And then one day you look at their face and they’re 7 and you think “Didn’t I just give birth to you?” Their face almost foreign yet so familiar. And you look into their big, beautiful eyes and see them so clearly it’s like the first time. A new version of this person that you created. Child 7.0. Knowing that this version of him won’t be here forever and will be soon enough replaced by yet another.
Sometimes I almost forget just how much I love him. I get so caught up in my own human-ness that I forget to see his. And I see him, and I hear him, and I stop. And I marvel at the two of us sharing our human-ness.
Parenting didn’t come as natural to me as I thought it would. And that’s a hard pill to swallow. It split my identity in to parts. There was the me that was me and the me that was completely responsible for the growth and development of another human. Nothing like a little pressure. A beautiful glass ornament from the Universe, and on the box it says “Do not fucking drop this.” And inevitably we do. Sometimes daily. And luckily there’s Gorilla Glue and Oreos and kisses to put things back together. I have seen so many women disappear into being a mother and I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t lose myself that way. And it didn’t mean that he wasn’t my Northern Star, in fact it meant he was. It meant that I loved us both enough to show him what it meant to live and what a whole, interesting, fun, loving, fucked up mother looks like. I can’t make things too easy for him though, he’ll need some things to tell Oprah one day.
Parenting is a tough gig. Tough crowd. He’s so embarrassed by me now. I love to dance in the car and oh he hates it. Are you even a parent if you’re not embarrassing your kids? Funny how my mere existence is mortifying to him. We all want the world to believe we were hatched. I am outgrowing my conditioning while he’s just growing into his. I don’t care all that much what people think anymore and he’s just starting to. I wish I could save him from all that shit. But I can’t. Just like with most things, just have to be the net while they walk the wire.
My name is Shea Rose and I write under the alias, Ms. Fish. I have been writing since I was about 13 but I’ve never submitted anything for publication. I live in Wilmington, NC and I write mostly poetry and nonfiction. I write from personal experience. Past and present. I am also a voracious reader and my favorite authors include Cheryl Strayed, Glennon Doyle, Abigail Thomas, and Elizabeth Gilbert. I love to read memoirs. I love learning about people’s stories and how they became who they are.