My 18 year old said to me the other day “I want to be a dad”.
Of course my instinctual reaction was to say “NOT NOW!!”
But I didn’t say anything, I just listened.
He talked a lot about his future and what kind of dad he wants to be.
We talked about the “right” age to have kids and how such a thing is utter bullshit.
No one is prepared for parenting.
You can be the most stable, successful and educated person and still be thrown for a complete loop when a child enters your life.
I know some people like that.
I also know some people who became parents when they were teenagers and raised awesome, well-rounded humans.
The truth about parenting is that we’re all figuring it out as we go.
Each little life that enters our world comes wired completely differently.
I love my three the same of course, but I do not interact with them the same. They are all very different.
My oldest (Logan) came into the world with intensity and has maintained that throughout his 18 years. He is strong willed with a sharp tongue, and he feels everything at a deep level.
He has always loved being with me more than anything else. He appreciates the gift of time and loves when I listen to him without interjecting my opinion.
My middle son (Nate) is one of the most creative and resourceful people I know. He is very quiet, but extremely observant. He watches the behavior of others and forms opinions by how he sees them acting. He is not one to be fooled by words.
He’s very sensitive but doesn’t like to show it. He is not a fan of emotional conversations, so I have to get creative when I want to connect with him.
He is very loyal and would do anything for his brothers and his friends.
My youngest (Charlie) is one of the most caring human beings that I have ever encountered. He is wise beyond his years and would give the shirt off his back for anyone who needed it.
He is still such a love bug even now that he’s grown much taller than me. He always has an arm around me or is holding my hand when I’m driving.
These three fellas could not be more different from one another.
I have seen these guys hurt, and I have seen them hurt others.
They have had their hearts broken.
They have been let down and disappointed.
They have had huge wins and massive successes.
The ups and downs of life are present for everyone.
I have dressed their wounds and hugged away tears.
I have also told them to suck it up on more than one occasion.
I have no idea what my parenting style is because I have no idea what I’m doing.
I figure it out as I go, and parent from a place of love.
Some days I go to bed thinking I killed it on the mom front. I definitely deserve a freakin’ gold star.
Other days, I have cried myself to sleep.
Parenting has absolutely been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. There was never a time when it was easy. But every single second of it has been worth it.
As a parent who also happens to be in sober recovery, I have made amends to my kids. I live amends to them by staying sober and not repeating old behaviors.
By being present for them and mindful of whats going on in their lives.
By making them a priority.
Kids may not always listen to what we say, but they watch what we do.
I want to be a good example to them.
They have seen me make mistakes and they have also watched me correct them.
They have seen me cry and they have seen me angry. I want them to know that negative emotions are ok too.
I hope to teach them how to set healthy boundaries, how to have compassion for others, and also for themselves.
I want them to understand that voids on the inside can never be filled by outside sources.
That how we treat others says so much about how we feel about ourselves.
I will never do this perfectly.
I learn something new every day when it comes to raising these guys, and I learn it by experiencing it.
Not a single day goes by that I’m not grateful for these three amazing souls.
Don’t get me wrong here, they drive me bat shit crazy sometimes…
But I love them with every cell in my body.
Since they are all getting older now, I’m practicing detaching little by little.
Allowing them autonomy.
Letting them navigate through things while being present and available when they need me.
I’m not a perfect mom.
I would say I’m profoundly average actually…
Parenting truly IS the hardest job.
But I wouldn’t trade it for anything.