Parenting is hard on the heart. The pangs of loss begin in the very first seconds. When our oldest was born at nearly forty-two weeks gestation, I could not wait to push him out into the world and get on with basic human functions, like bending at the waist and rolling over in bed without assistance. Yet as soon as the midwife took him away to measure his weight and height, my gut twinged. My son and I had shared my body every moment of his existence up until then. Every inch of distance he was carried away was the farthest he’d traveled from my heartbeat, my arms, my womb.
But the ache of parenting isn’t limited to constant tugs of separation. There are the daily—hourly—realizations that I am fallen, sinful, imperfect. I am not as patient as I’d hoped to be. I responded harshly again. I feigned sleep so my husband would get up to deal with a wandering toddler at midnight, even though it was my turn.
There’s a near-constant knowledge of my own frailty, mortality, and selfishness. Nearly every parent is faced with the recognition that we are kind of bad at this, and by the time we get better at any one phase, the whole game changes and we are greenhorns once again.
When our middle child turned four a couple of weeks into stay-at-home orders, friends from all over the country sent video messages to celebrate him.
“Poor kid,” one texted me. “At least…
[Continued over at Fathom Mag.]