That’s the thing about Parenthood

There was this time that I heard those God-like pronouncements.

And I took them at face value.

I thought that you must know something that I do not.


I am on the other side of that great divide now.

I learned the appearance of  confidence from you.

But here is the truth:


All I’m ever doing is improvising.  Bluffing.  Making it all up as I go.

I am the man behind the curtain,

The naked emporer


That’s the thing about parenthood.


If the challenges and the joys

Would just be kind enough to slow down a little bit.

If it was the same this year as it was last year…


Because that’s the thing about parenthood.


As soon as I get to be good at dadding to your age, you’re not that age anymore.

If you’d just have the good sense to stop growing up

I think I’d actually get to be good at this thing.


That’s the thing about parenthood.


While I always knew that I’d worry about the big things: Your health and your safety…

That you’d grow up and not be a bully. 

Or a cereal killer.


I just didn’t get

what a 24 hour job it would be

Worrying about everything.


As I’m writing these words

It is cold outside tonight and raining.

They never told me how I’d be worried about you when you’re not here.


I could not have imagined

That it just wouldn’t be enough to know that you are safe.

Down at the very core of me.


There’s this need to know that

 you’re warm.

 I’d give anything to be assured that you’re smiling right now.


That’s the thing about parenthood.

It’s terrible.

And yet…


It’s the only thing that really makes anything worth it.


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The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

2 thoughts on “That’s the thing about Parenthood”

  1. thanks, i really enjoyed it. you totally capture the unspoken mysteries of parenthood. beautifully terrifying. the spelling cracked me up “cereal killer” 🙂


  2. Thanks. My spelling is attrocious, and at first I did not catch my mispelling. After trying to figure out what was correct, I actually decided I liked the pun anyway and decided to keep it.


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