Wednesday July 6, 2022
One of the most interesting parts of parenting has been seeking to know my child, then realizing that I’ve been merely grazing the surface because the depth of her whole person is just beginning. The knowing and not quite yet. If you’ve met my 6-year old, she really should have her face printed next to the dictionary definition of fun. This girl is always relishing the chocolate croissant, raving about the flower fields, setting out for that next vacation. She’s pure sunshine and what a privilege it is to be in her orbit - we’re always basking in her light.
The reality, though, is that no one can or should live in that state all the time. No matter how much we seek to avoid pain, we only know light if we understand dark, joy if we see sorrow. I’m getting a front row seat to observing how children, too, have the ability to bury hard emotions and distract themselves, convinced they’ve found a healing balm rather than a numbing cream. We’ve been navigating Charlotte’s inner turmoil as she’s realizing that the world’s colors are not quite as bright as she’s painted them, how unprocessed sadness can come out in bursts of anger, how hard it is not to give in to the impulse to deflect when feeling that knot in the chest (wait, her or me? Or you?). For someone who chooses to focus on the rainbow after the storm, it’s been quite the task to even sit with her as she gets comfortable speaking the words, “I’m feeling sad.”
I’ve never had any aspirations to climb a mountain, but I can see why people chase the experience; there’s no place to be but there, no running, no hiding. You take whatever journey the mountain offers and the only way to the top is through, one foot in front of the other. On the other side of my knock-you-to-your-knees kind of painful seasons during our first pregnancy, then again in adoption loss, I picture mountain climbing as the allegory to this part of our human experience - the quiet, arduous upward journey promising something beautiful that can’t be seen anywhere else but from the peak. As my daughter(s) trudges up hers now and the next, I hope we continue to learn together that pain isn’t in vain, redemption isn’t in forgetting. The courage is in choosing to remember, to feel the jagged edges and place anchors for another, the one who will undoubtedly be making her way up as we’re heading down. Isn't this humanity, as we fit our feet into the grooves laid before us and say to one another, oh gosh, you too? I know exactly what you’re walking through.
to life in its fullest,