The other day, Henry and I were walking into the grocery store to pick up a few things for dinner. Out of the blue, he looked up and said "Mom, is it hard to be a parent?"
In that moment, a hundred reasons for saying a resounding "YES!!" flashed through my head.....
Yes, dear Henry. Yes, because half the time, I have no idea how to be a parent. Just when I think I have a handle on what is going on in your life and what you need from me, you go and change. Suddenly, you need something new from me. Something different, and now I'm stuck trying to figure it all out. Again.
Yes, because sometimes your whining or your second-grade anger or your incessant asking for something or your moodiness - - well it feels like it might push me over the edge.
Yes, because my heart breaks every time you come home from school and recount some minor social struggle or rejection. Something that someone said or did that made you sad. You always get over it quickly, because it really didn't mean anything. But still, my heart just breaks.
Yes, because some days, the worry and fear I have about everything that could go wrong feels all consuming.
Yes, because sometimes I am so tired, and I can't give anything more. Not. One. Thing. More. But you still need more. And whoa - then the mama-guilt really sets in.
Yes, because I question whether I'm doing enough. Whether I'm finding the right balance of allowing you independence and giving you boundaries. If I'm teaching you everything you'll need to grow up and become the strong, kind, independent, courageous, loving person I know you to be....
Yes, yes, YES! The answer is yes. Being a parent is hands-down, the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.
But that's not the answer I gave you, my dear boy.....
Someday - - many years from now, we'll talk about all those "yes's." About the reality of being a parent. But not right now.
There is so much more to the story....
Never, never have I questioned or had any regret about being a parent. Not for a second. Not even in the hardest of moments. In a sense, it's been the easiest thing I've ever done too. It's been natural. And right. And perfect.
So, my answer was simple.
"No Henry, being your mom is not hard. Being your mom is exactly what I was meant to do."
"Good," he said. "Because, it's pretty easy to be a kid too."
What more could I possibly ask for?