so she climbed them

the other night i talked with my mom on the phone for a while. she brought up writing (or maybe i did) specifically writing as a form of therapy. she's a big believer in it. point is, i feel like i need to get past the pain of this long writing drought and push through to the water on the other side, you know? maybe you do. maybe not. 

today i watched my kids run through the sprinkler, bask in the hot sun on our deck and make mud to paint themselves with. later Dinah wanted to climb some trees in the yard she hadn't attempted yet. so she climbed them. 

tonight after i tucked them snugly in bed she came out to tell me that tomorrow she wants to show dad how she can climb that one Crepe Myrtle tree. i told her he would like that. then she got back into bed.

yes, that's a bike helmet around her neck.
recently i've thought much about my relationship to my children. as a parent. and i've concerted a great amount of effort in understanding them. more effort than usual. maybe it's because, on those really bad days, i find myself loathing them. at least, i thought that's what it was. pretty freaking scary: the realization that you really don't like your children sometimes. those thoughts sobered me right up, friends. 

happily, upon deep reflection and after many tears, i have concluded that it's not my children whom i (sometimes) hate. it's parenting.

and not just parenting them. because i don't believe it would be any easier parenting any one else's children. it's just parenting in general. it's the hardest thing in the world to me sometimes. and it's during some of those sometimes that i just want to lay down and die. you know what i mean? i hope you don't. but maybe you do.

then there are the days like the ones i've had recently when i stop focusing on all the past guilt long enough to wake up to the idea that nearly six years of parenting has taught me mountains of things. about myself. and, of course, about these little ones i've been privileged to care for.

and when i say mountains i don't mean that i've ascended to the pinnacle and conquered this ever frustrating and joyful confusion called parenting. i've only just begun to see through the clouds obstructing the view long enough to realize that this mountain won't be conquered. which is a battle won in itself.

because when that first child is born a climb begins that never ends. not when they learn to walk. or speak. or drive or ride a bike. not at the magical age of eighteen. or twenty-one. the journey never ends once it's begun. 

and i guess the point i'm getting at is this: once you see the mountain for what it is and stop trying to master it you can rest more. walk slowly. stop climbing all together for a season and just take in the view, appreciating the height you've reached without taking notice of the distance ahead of you.

i hear it plateaus a bit around the time the kids are having kids of their own. you're a seasoned climber then; it's bound to get easier.

but know this, my friends: you've a mountain to climb and it's going to take you forever.


Dad said...


Deep, but well said. You have obviously done a great deal of thinking and reflecting about this. You are right about the mountain. Parenting is never not there. Some parts of your relationship with your children you never will be without. Even when they are with someone else or are gone physically from you they will still be in you. And you will still be in them. Time teaches us how good and important this connection really is. I am glad I will never not be part of you, and you will never not be part of me. I am glad we are on the same mountain.

Susan said...

You said it perfectly. I often find myself looking up at how much more I have to climb that I forget to look down and see how far I have already climbed. During those difficult times it seems the path is more rocky it is a good thing I remember the number one rule: never climb alone. I know I am never alone during my endless search for the smoother rode to the top.