Kelly Corrigan writes an incredible love letter to her daughters in the book “Lift” which I just finished recently. “Lift” isn’t all rosy. Corrigan recounts her friends’ bouts of infertility, and compares that heartbreak to her own with cancer. She remembers her daughter’s hospitalization and her fear, summing it up by saying that the hospital stay “marked the beginning of how I came to know what a bold and dangerous thing parenthood is. Risk was not an event we’d survived but the place where we now lived.”
Some days it just seems like the sheer fact of moving and being is an act of danger and boldness for our youngest. Bruises and scabs cover his knees and shins, hinting at the escapades he’s gone through.
I happened upon this scene just last week.
I had left him unattended for 3 minutes and was greeted with destruction and mess upon my return. These “small, fairly harmless incidents” are par for the course with raising toddlers, especially boys.
But man alive, parenthood is certainly dangerous. Dangerous in the sense that parenthood mirrors back to you what your own fears, insecurities and hang ups are. You can never prepare for the risks that are parenthood. As Kelly eloquently stated, “Risk was not an event we’d survived but the place where we now lived.”
Many days I have to remind myself of this fact. Not to fall into apathy, but more to have a dose of reality. We are not just meant to survive the moment. We live for the long haul, long term, in a place of risk. Parenthood is bold and dangerous and there are no guarantees. My friend lost her sweet baby girl three months ago and her reflections this past week were so raw and real. Her post was a moment of truth telling, that despite the Hope we hold, death and pain and parenthood is hard. That parenthood is bold and dangerous.
Today, as I’m home with my youngest, I am reminded of the bold and dangerous (and FOOLISH!) concept of running errands with an eighteen month old. I’m sure my chiropractic adjustment was completely void and null after 2 hours of completing the to do lists. Stroller in and out. Child unbuckled, lugged out, strapped in and restrained.
Trying to hold onto the bold, dangerous and foolish moments, though….because something happened yesterday. Matt created a video via Picasa’s face recognition capabilities. This video pulled pictures of Alex from birth to today, almost at his 5 year mark. And in 4 minutes, I saw 5 years quickly fade in and out. Five years of bold and dangerous living. It goes fast.
So, the balance continues. On one side, Bold. On the other side, Dangerous. The scales tip between the two realities. Neither are polar opposites, but rather chances to trust. Opportunities to rely. Instances to fail and mess up, but remain present. To sit in the bold and dangerous place and be, not escape.
“If John Lennon was right that life is what happens when you’re making other plans, parenthood is what happens when everything is flipped over and spilling everywhere and you can’t find a towel or a sponge or your ‘inside’ voice.”
― Kelly Corrigan, Lift
p.s. And then there’s THIS, my current read….Bringing Up Bébé : One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman. Maybe it will be the last frontier on all wisdom needed to produce “astonishingly well behaved children”!