How are all of the parents out there holding up? Regardless of your status, it feels like COVID is taking its toll on everyone; especially those that can’t see or spend time with their families.
Our family had a blow out the other night; Angel’s son is coming of age and at that tipping point in his life where he wants to forge his own identity and decide for himself what is and isn’t appropriate and make his own decisions, but he’s lacking the perspective and experience to handle that level of maturity and responsibility. It feels like such a delicate period; as the amount of time we still have to shape his trajectory is quickly diminishing, and thus the inevitable blow up occurs.
I sometimes say Angel’s son, because I came into the picture so late in the game. I missed his first cry, baby steps, words, sentences and bike ride. The first real physical hurt, and the first emotional one. The first disciplinary actions, the first bribery attempts and teaching him right and wrong. I missed the events that first shaped who he is, and inevitably who he will one day become. When you enter the game in the later stages, you have to earn trust and respect, and it feels different; easier in some ways and more difficult in others. But it sometimes feels arrogant to assume too much; perhaps that is just my own fears, my own insecurities, or my own failings.
I’ve grown accustomed to taking 3 steps forward, and then 2 steps back; it’s frustrating sometimes, but you learn to be patient. Then, every once in a while, it feels like you suddenly take 10 steps back and all the progress has evaporated, and this window of getting the stars aligned to maximize his potential is precariously close to implosion.
The last couple of family blow ups have had me look back when I was his age, and I can see things through older and more experienced eyes. I see the grief I caused my mom at that age, and I believe I can imagine some of the stress I put her through, and as a result, understand why she reacted the way she did. I also see some of the wounds I suffered from that period, and recognize that some of the parenting choices I’ve been advocating and fighting with Angel to maintain are based on the needs I had as a teenager. I’m not so certain as of late if the approaches I’ve advocated have been beneficial or harmful, and there are days I can’t tell if I’m failing this boy, or protecting him. And there are days Angel and I have let that fear and uncertainty get to us, and we’ve taking it out on each other.
I used to think prior experiences in life prepared me for this period; my ego told me I was ready, and prepared, and I’d do my best and it would be good enough. My ego is foolish; this is a really hard job, and I don’t understand how all of you parents have done this from beginning to end, and for some multiple times to boot.
Yesterday was a tough day here, but it ended well. Better than expected. It wasn’t 10 steps back; it less than that, and I wish I handled myself a lot better than I did.
To all the families struggling during this time; best of wishes, and best of luck. Don’t give up the faith, and don’t let the craziness get to you, or affect how you treat those closest to you.
Cheers 🍻 Karl
Here is the BLOG EDITOR Angel Morgan’s response….
I have no words for this beautiful truthful article. Okay, maybe a few 😘
Its true. We haven’t seen our son grow up in those baby formative years together, we have had our share of tears over that.
As parents acknowledging is important. It’s not easy, and it is one of Karl’s finer traits.
what we have seen and experienced in the time we have been shaping ourselves into a family unit has been remarkable in its evolution with all the goods, bads and uglies. At one point or another all parents feel they could have done better or more. In those times we cannot forget what we have done and been present for as well.
I can’t forget about the 24 hr work weeks that karl has had and even with no sleep telling his work he would be back at midnight driving to keswick and making time for jays 8th grade graduation, being there for his 16th birthday, Karl teaching jay to shave (I have pics ;)) watching them cook together and watch movies on boys night and spend weekends working on ill fated servers, talking, and strategizing. Long hours talking about girls and life. Also moments I have shed happy tears over. Seemingly insignificant events that shape a young boy into the image of a wonderful dad.
for every ten steps back we as parents take we also take one or two giant leaps forward too. We may not recognize them, but every so often (albeit far and few between), in their own awkward tiny teenage ways, in the most unexpected manner, kids will show you that you and they are doing well. They will show their gratitude. Like a random hug or this past Christmas present that said “love you dad”. little moments that may not waylay fully our insecurities but give us that glimmer of what a young person my become and that they see you’re efforts.
As a single parent I see the changes in jay since Karl input. I see how Karl has changed, I see how he’s grown up. I see how I’ve grown up. It’s not been easy at times. My independence slowly becoming interdependence, his release of past hurts and wounds that are helping him, and I become better parents and people. The recognition that we still have a long way to go. Willing to see that at least we are doing that as a family
Please remember everyone. As a parent you are learning and evolving too. You are still making mistakes and it’s okay for your kids to see them. It’s okay to talk about the hard things. It’s how they learn. Jay and i have seen our shares of downs. With Karl we are finally seeing a better share of ups. There is no manual for life. Recognize that a child’s anger is momentary, and knowing they truly love you will sustain your patience…and sanity.
I am grateful for this article, my learnings, my son, Karl and ALL of the lovely loving people who have been the village that has helped to raise our family in so many ways.
I…we…love you. ❤️❤️❤️🧡🧡🧡🦋🦋🦋