You know what was never meant to be? Parenting alone.
For real. We aren’t cut out for it. Not even a little. I need you. And if you don’t need me, that’s fine, but chances are you need someone. Or you will soon.
My sister-in-law offers to help me shop for an upcoming trip and adds easily, “Let us know if you need any help with your kiddos.” That’s as it should be. I do the same back. What’s not meant to be is a guilt trip or laying it on thick if I ever ask for help with my kids. She doesn’t do this, and for that I am grateful.
My mom steps in when my kids are sassing me. I don’t turn on her and tell her to mind her place. She is. She’s their mother too. It’s right there in her name. And I need her to reinforce my words, so they stop thinking I am crazy and remember they owe us life. They can keep their sass.
My husband brings me coffee after he wakes before me and drops my kids to school.
A lady at church pulls me aside and says she’s noticed a connection between my teenager and another child that could get weird fast. She’s praying. And she’s practicing the magical parenting art of proximity.
My pastor gives my son a book to read and they set a date to discuss it over hot chocolate because my son says, “I think I want to be a pastor.”
Our youth leader goes out of his way to provide rides early on Wednesdays because my son mentions he wants to learn bass, and do they need help with the worship team.
My daughter’s public high school English teacher cries along with me right in my face when she realizes my child/her student is really being a grumpy carl because her big sister is about to move away to college. And instead of insisting my daughter/her student yield she says words like, “You matter. Your words matter. Your hurt is valid. You can be a grumpy carl right here, and I won’t even dock your grade for it.” And then she whispers, “God loves you and he hurts when you hurt” because she knows my daughter professes to be a Christian, and she shares that space.
My neighbor offers my ten year old the use of his unicycle complete with lessons.
My other neighbor pays my child $20 to clean up her leaves and insists he do the job properly. She holds him accountable if he skirts corners.
The owners of our favorite coffee shop say things like, “Hey you’ve got several weeks home from college. Get a job and help your parents out.”
Twenty-something girls come get my angsty teens and set examples of funny conversation free of swears and crude words. They model fashion with modesty. They say, “Be in the moment. High school is a great big hug before you leave the nest. Embrace it. Try the things that make you fearful and work hard.”
I am not meant to do this parenting thing alone. I need you. All of you. Even the ones I might never know about. And I am here for you. All of you. Even the ones I don’t actually know.