“He who is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone.”
There’s a very common misconception that there are things that people “could” or “should” have done when something goes wrong. Or that “being responsible” means that you can keep everything under control. I want to talk about this for a second.
Here is the truth: Everyone is always doing their best.
If you think this is untrue, ask yourself, “When have I NOT been doing my best?” Listen to what comes up. If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll more than likely find Guilt and Shame. They come along from believing that you “could” have done better than you did or that you “should” have done things differently.
Now think about that.
How could you have? If you could have, surely you would have. Right? For example, a couple weeks ago, Walden was playing wall ball within my eye shot throughout Madi’s entire baseball game and then I turned my back to him for one minute to fold up my chair. I had turned my back for other ‘minutes’ and looked back to find him still there. But during this minute, he took off. We had already gathered our stuff and started to go, but looked back and Walden was gone. He wasn’t in any of his usual spots like the dugouts, dirt mounds, the shed, the playground, not at our car, not playing wall ball. He was just gone.
The field was quickly clearing and he was nowhere.
Heart pound. Heart pound.
This park is somewhere he goes basically everyday. He’s familiar with all the areas and we’ve given him boundaries when we are in certain places. He knows that he is NOT to go where he can’t see us (because we say it every 30 seconds). We have set lots of expectations. I don’t trust him though. And because of it, my neck is constantly experiencing whiplash symptoms from trying to keep my eye on my all of my kids when they are standing at varying degrees of my position. Because I know the #1 goal in parenting is to KEEP THE KID ALIVE.
Walden was gone and so were my normal faculties. My buddy Adrenalin was at the controls. Where is my fucking SON!? The world is standing still and I can hear my internal organs pounding away as I try to process all the possibilities of where he could be. We had at least 15 people looking for him. Ten minutes went by and FINALLY my husband found him with some people playing on rocks by the super shallow creek across the way. A place he plays all the time, but was WAY too far away from me.
Joseph thanked them, but their attitude was an immediate judgment. They had called the police. They assumed we were shitty parents. Maybe we are.
What could I have done differently though? I suppose I could have tied a rope around his waist? I guess I could just put off breathing because something COULD happen when I blink?
What if he’d been kidnapped or run over like our “Dateline” and “20/20” minds want to imagine, the worst? Am I a bad mom then? Should I have more guilt and shame that I’m not capable of child rearing?
The common place so many people resort to when their minds don’t know where to turn is usually the ego protector, Blame. She likes to act like something other than what happened COULD have happened…But, how does THAT happen?! How can anyone GO BACK?? Has anyone ever traveled in time to change their actions and prevent a horrible situation from happening? Ok then. Let’s just call that notion stupid and move on from it. Let’s call Regret the bitch that she is and set down our defenses.
If you don’t have some “I’m a horrible parent” story then I call bluff on your luck.
If you think you’ve done it all right, then I say, “show me your cards, mama, cause I’m pretty sure one of them is a joker and he’s got you fooled.”
We have to let go of the idea that we live in a cookie cutter society that isn’t messy and insane with hard stuff that plays out. We have got to quit our neurological addiction to shock value and the two sides of the fence. We are not ever going to be perfect robots who train ourselves and our kids to do all the right things. Who would want what that looks like anyway? We are going to look away for seconds at a time and bad things may or may not happen.
I admit that I live in the land of extreme adrenal overload because kids are stressful and noisy and it seems as if they all have a death wish (and also because they like to mix wet and sticky things with gravity and my couch). I’m always on edge in severe protection mode.
But let’s step back for a moment and notice how with all the kids and parents in the land of “we can die” that are struggling to stay alive every day, that MOST of them do in fact, stay alive! There is a force at work that is bigger than you and me. You know, the one that is responsible for giving us life? Call It what you like, God, Energy, whatever it is that has evolved to this point and made you, as sperm, compete for that entry into the shiny egg. It’s the thing that keeps balance in all things, that is maintaining our position so beautifully in space, the perfect distance from the sun.
The alternative to that theory is called Severe Control Disorder, SCD. We probably have all experienced its torture. It’s where we think that we can somehow control the conditions of life in order to create a desirable scenario. If that works for you, great (but, that doesn’t work for you). Think of all that is left out of that equation. Like all the fascinating aspects of the miracle world we live in where life intertwines serendipitously. The world that made you a mother. The one where, if you’re lucky, keeps that kid safe from the throws of chaos in the universe… and apes at the zoo.
The symptoms of SCD include, but are not limited to, riding a high horse, living in an ivory tower, looking down from a soapbox, or having anything but sympathy for people experiencing tragedy.