Your father and I? The ones who tucked you into a baby carrier and brought you home from the hospital, the ones whose names are listed on your birth certificates, you know, the ones who gave you life?
The truth is, Loves, we have no freaking clue what we’re doing.
I think that thought first crossed my mind about the time that we stood in the entryway of the hospital with a screaming, newborn Devyn (who by the way, obviously HATED her car seat) and actually considered the idea of taking our 3-day-old daughter out of the hated contraption and instead hold her in my arms on our drive home. Thankfully cooler heads prevailed (in the form of one father-in-law who vetoed said idea) and we suffered through her first car ride together. But in that moment, when I debated her comfort over her well-being, I leaned over to Jon and whispered, “They’re actually letting us leave with a baby?! Do they not know that we have NO idea what we're doing?! Whose bright idea was this again?”
My Loves, I’ve decided that this parenting gig is just one big guessing game after another. Your father and I have struggled through decision after decision, all with one goal in mind, to mold you into responsible, loving, and caring human beings. At first the decisions seemed so big and so important. Would we do an all-natural birth, or go the route of drugs? Cloth diapers or disposal? Would we ascribe to the “breast is best” theory, or would we use formula? And that was just the tip of the iceberg… From there we were inundated with well-meaning advice about schooling, discipline tactics, working or staying at home, and we can’t forget the hot-button topic of immunizations. Each decision felt so heavy and weighted, as though these decisions had the ability to make or break our tiny humans. And for a while there, I can tell you that we ascribed to that mentality and defended each of these decisions with passion and conviction.
But let’s fast forward, shall we? After almost twelve years of parenting, we have been humbled over and over again. It’s been twelve years of your parents exchanging look after look after look, and asking ourselves, “What do we do now?” What worked for one child, did not work for another, and what worked one day, didn’t work the next. It’s been the largest carnival ride of our lives, and we’re never quite sure if we’re heading for the hill of “we got this, we’re totally on top of our parenting game”, or if we’re about to plummet into another “where did we go wrong, how are we going to fix this” pit. You’ve kept it interesting, my Loves.
And while it’s true that we have no clue what we’re doing, let me assure you of this. Our goal is still that you grow into kind, loving, and responsible adults. Outside of that, everything else is a bonus. And when we’re in the midst of a heated fight, where emotions are high and the ability to agree is elusive, remember that we still have a greater goal in mind, YOU being that greater goal.
All of the parenting decisions I mentioned above, in reality, none of them can guarantee that you’ll turn into the kind of adults that will be successful and a contributing member of society. They can help shape who you become, sure, but can't offer a single guarantee. So instead your father and I forced to deal with the heart of who you are, as individuals. What one of you struggles with, the others will not. When it seems that one child is getting the better end of the bargain, rest assured that Dad and I are in fact losing sleep over the heart issues of that child too. And when it seems that we’re being exceptionally hard on you, please keep in mind two things…
- That even though we have no clue what we’re doing, we are doing our absolute best.
- There might be things that we see in you that remind us of our own struggles. If we’re hard on you, it’s because we know it’s better for you to learn these heart lessons now, instead of learning these lessons in ways we wish we could have avoided.
Here we are, on the precipice of middle school and teenage years. And just like all the other stages, I’m convinced of a several things. There will be triumphs and struggles, there will be moments of joy and of despair, and there will be times that Dad and I will marvel at the people you’re becoming. But the greatest certainty is that in the dark of night, where we lay head-to-head and talk about our day, we will have our greatest moments of doubt and will still confess that we have no idea what we’re doing.
Oh my Loves, you have been our greatest adventure. And we couldn't imagine being, nor want to be, anywhere else but here with you...