So I just finished the autobiography/cookbook trilogy (so far) by Marlena de Blasi
. Wonderful books, loved them very much (get them at your library!). And in the second book, someone she has come to love, Flori, is dying. Flori's love, Barlozzo, tells Marlena to "Love her as she needs to be loved, not as you need to love her."
Ooo. How's that for profound? And the first person I thought of when I read this was Ike.
Ike is my challenge child. Some parents are "lucky", they get complacent, compliant, "easy" kids. They get to go along with life without too many bumps. Without any real need to stretch and grow. Parenthood, for these people, is a pair of cheap jeans that fit perfectly the first time they try them on, and also happen to be on clearance.
Ike on the other hand...
Ike is making me re-examine myself. What values I hold, what is really important, how I see the world, what I view as successful parenting. He is making me stretch, sometimes extremely uncomfortably, and grow up, to really and truly think and feel. To try and be the best I can be, so I can help him to be the best he can be. Essentially, try and figure out how to love him the way he needs me to love him. And not love him the way I need to love him. To mold and create in myself the parent he needs.
Sometimes I feel damned unsuccessful.
Other times, I can give myself that proverbial pat on the back. I can say "I handled that well."
Then the screaming fits starts, self-recrimination, dust myself off and climb that horse again.
Why is parenting a series of falls and failures?
But then again, isn't anything worth attempting a series of failures and successes?
But in this case, the cost of failure is so high. Its not like dancing where "Whoops! I broke the square." This is a person, someone who didn't even ask to be here. Brought forth for my own damn selfish reasons. I fail in this venture...and I've broken a person. Talk about a damn lot of pressure.
The only easement I've been able to draw is a firm belief that the Universe at large doesn't hand out challenges that you are doomed to fail. I think each challenge is a chance to learn. And what counts is that you try your best, and that you learn from it. I also believe that if you keep getting the same challenge over and over, you didn't learn the right lesson. Try again.
So back into the saddle I go.