The Worry of the Child

Parental Bird

Parental Bird

No one tells you about the worry when you have children.

The talk is of love, light, blessings- and so much of raising children contains these items and more.

The worry is the secret no one discloses when you hold babe in arms. People will “ooohhh” and “aaahhhh” and those who are parents will hold their lips in a sealed line and not reveal the legacy.

The worry…no one talks about the worry.

Growth. Development. Illness. Injury. The uncertainty. What is right? What am I supposed to be doing here? How poor can my parenting skills be and still be “good enough”?

You pray- “Please God, give me a resilient child, because I am pretty sure I am going to mess it up.”

You send your toddler off to preschool. The child looks at once so young and old to you as they run from your arms on their small legs in through that door.

And they will spend hours apart from you. Being free from the moment to moment contact does not free you of the worry.

The movement into school. More hours spent from home. More interactions. More possibilities. The child’s hopes and dreams begin to form, as you question, “Am I doing enough?”

A “graduation” marks the transition to high school- a sense of newness and hope ensues – while you also stand silently watching your child mingle amongst friends, looking SO MATURE.

And you can’t help, even while you hold a smile, to worry about what the future may hold. They are so much more on their own now, but they carry the mark of your parenting. Will it be enough?

The worry…no one talks about the worry.

Sleepless nights. Anticipation. Comparison. Prevention strategies. Proactive approaches. Coddling. Discussions. Hugging. Books. Holding. Seminars. Prayers.

A game to keep the child in your care safe.

The worry…no one talks about the worry.

You begin to understand this has been a secret all along.

The time between thoughts- when you are falling asleep, when you see them walking off to school, the time before bed when they disclose their heart ache and concerns- is when you understand wrapped in all the love, joy, and hope, the stone of worry has hung about your neck simply because you are raising a child.

I was reading an article in The New Yorker describing Edward Hirsch’s elegy for his son. And his words were the ones that alerted me to the silent secret so many of us hold.

How endless the worry can be.

My stepson is having some difficulties now and Lord, I tell you, I am weighed down.

Like any parent, I want to change it all for him, you know? I want to wrap it up, make it do-able, heal the wound and ferry him safely across to the other side.

They say worry is a waste of time.

I would say worry is the secret, silent, companion to all who parent.


The image is a play on this idea. I was thinking of a “Mama Bird” that must push here young out of the nest to fly, but perhaps even with their flight, she is never free. She continues to wear the weight of her heart and love for them around her neck.

It also plays with a reverse on the idea of an albatross around the neck and the image of a phoenix rising (the color of flames behind the bird.) Through our children, we are transformed and rebirthed in literal and metaphorical ways.

Getting Real about What We Can and Can Not Give Our Children

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A Prayer for Every Child

My child-
If I could give you my love to use in this world-I would, I would

My child-
If I could give you my compassion to use in this world-I would, I would

My child-
If I could give you my peace to use in this world-I would, I would

My child-
If I could give you my grace to use in this world-I would, I would

My child-
If I could give you my mercy to use in this world-I would, I would

My child-
I would give you all of these and more to use in the world-If I could, if I could

But life requires more of us, my sweet child, than the use of the gifts of another.

Do not fret, my child, for this is my prayer-

I pray with deepest hearts that you may be so touched and overfilled by my love, compassion, peace, grace and mercy

That you, my beautiful child, will have more than enough to give.

The beauty of our growth, my dear child, is that you will get to choose what is done with these gifts.

Choose well, my child, choose well.

I do not have my own children, but I help raise my stepchildren. This is my prayer for them. I try to lead by example and give them all of my greatest gifts, but ultimately, as with all things in life, the child will decide what he or she will become. My only prayer is I do the best I can to help them use the gifts they have been given.

Another way to look at this prayer- if you believe in God- is to imagine God thinking about each of us in this way. God has given each of us- love, peace, grace, compassion, and mercy. God can not control the use of these gifts- that is the choice for each of us.

Children and Disappointment

meditativeecstasy
For those of you who celebrate the Easter holiday- Happy Easter! Short, little blog today about something that happened yesterday. My husband, stepkids and I went shopping. It’s a big deal for us, as we live out in the middle of nowhere. We went in order to purchase my stepdaughter some new jeans. She is at the age where on-line shopping simply is not going to cut it given how much her body is changing.

During the day, my stepson began to look more and more dejected. He managed to mope and drag his feet, slowly walking 15 yards behind us, through an entire wing of the mall. Although he had been allowed to purchase one small treat, he wanted more. His moping and feet dragging were designed to clearly convey how we had failed him, in case the tears and pleading had been lost on us.

My husband was very concerned stating that “Henry” (not his real name 🙂 ) seemed so disappointed.

Yes, “Henry” was disappointed. But, I pointed something out to my husband. Our job as parent and stepparent was not to raise two children who never experience disappointment. Our job as parent and stepparent was to raise children to grow up understanding how to handle disappointment.

A wonderful gift we can give our children is to help them understand they are not the center of the world. Life provides and life disappointments. A person of awareness and grace (a hope I my stepkidds will be) is able to handle both with a sense of compassion and understanding.

Being the Champion for Every Child

She Dances Freely

She Dances Freely


I once read in a magazine article that the preference of parents about to birth a child is to birth a boy. I wonder what this says about us as a culture and society. That one would be considered “better” than the other startles me. Being woman myself, perhaps my sensor is honed in keenly on this type of energy. Being a college professor of primarily female students may add to my sense of being a champion for the young girls I see, as does watching my stepdaughter grow up.

Not every woman feels this way. I have witnessed mothers of teenage girls begin to sense competition in the wind. The young, budding bodies a direct affront to what a grown woman will never reclaim. The following is a poem I wrote in reference to this energy.

Every young child in your life deserves you to protect them. Show them how awesome they are. Their simple beings are a gift to this world. May we help them heed their own destinies by being their greatest champions.

Woman’s call to the Young

Imminent domain
Consummate mother
So- why the rage?

STAKED
Who did the bidding
Who teased that flame?

The flame you would use to uproot the soul within you
Never her, never her

Your crown not for the taking
Not all mothers love their daughters

Tiger- King of Beast, Protector of the Dead
Stalking you in heat

Slinky, feminine energy in undulating orange stripe
You – saggy breasted and womb worn
Defeated before milk flew through her breast bud

Young girl – keep up, keep up
Every woman’s call
Take the young ones – suckle and never leave
Mother them
Motherless daughters
The Wolf runs crying of destiny.