Tuesday, January 22, 2008

let us be the first parents to not screw up

Hi Finn. Hi, you. Love you in the Harry Potter glasses your uncle gave you. You've also recently sussed out smiling for the camera. That's the way, sugar! Leave no square millimeter of enamel hidden. And everyone, behold the view I get when my boy's heading in for a smooch. Ideally I'd like his face to remain within three inches of my face at all times. He also smells good.

So, I don't mean screw up like in the small ways we have already screwed up nine million times and will screw up thirty trillion more before we're dead. I don't mean that. I mean that I was just thinking the other day that the possibility exists that we can hurt him. We can do something, knowingly or unknowingly, that makes him feel smaller inside.

It hit me - boof - in the gut, this possibility. We could bestow on this tiny man that we love more than anything some creepy, slow burning gift of self-doubt or self-loathing or shame or something else that we don't even know to watch out for. We, by not knowing ourselves properly, can slice off little pieces of his well-being day by day.

Don't get me wrong. So far I think we're doing pretty well. Nobody can accuse us of not loving Finn. We shower him with love and we laugh all the time and we keep the small things small and the big things big and we're fairly sure we know which is which. I'm not crippled with self-doubt about our parenting. We're all right. We're good.

But chances are good that we're missing something because most parents do their best and feel this way and love their children and try not to skip the big beats. And most people have some kind of goddamn wound courtesy of Mom and Dad. So, the math, do it and weep.

Wish us luck. We really want to crack this thing. It's our Apollo mission. Let it not be the one that ended up with the Tom Hanks movie.


Anonymous said...

Amen. That is certainly my hope with my parenting too. I just have to trust in that there are a million ways to get it right, and some very specific things to avoid doing. If I can manage to avoid the big potholes in the road of parenting and maneuver a course that is straight and true and full of love, that is the best that I can do. I also hope against all hope that we will suceed at not screwing up this really wonderful girl.

Oh, and I love your blog.

Deb Abramson said...

I think that as parents, we are fated to injure our kids--and even to injure them deeply, but our kids are not fated to be screwed up as a result. The rupture doesn't matter nearly as much as the repair--how we recognize and deal with our mistakes, how we work with our kids to soothe their wounds. And besides, kids can be pretty damn resilient.

Those are my pearls of wisdom, as a parent of three who is perpetually wondering how I'm doing wrong by them.

Anonymous said...


How did I never see this? Well, 'cuz I don't normally like to read blogs, that's why. Not the first time baby pics have provided a gateway to the blogosphere, I'm sure. (Thank you "Beets".)

I interrupt this post to start reading the GM from the beginning. Brianna, cancel my appointments!


Eve said...

Oh MAN, that is scary stuff that haunts me too- but I feel like it's a labour of love that I have some control over.

Even worse than that are the kajillions of people and things out THERE that can possibly hurt my babies. That's the endless hell pit of stuff that I have to constantly shove out of my mind, to prevent madness. Gulp.

Your little lovenest seems like one of the best places I've heard of to grow a happy wee man.

Kris McN said...

Yeah, when I was pregnant with Linus I was talking with our friend Jordan (at the time a damn fine parent of a 9 year old) about how I was so worried about being a good parent, and raising a good person but not a selfish one, and not ruining my kid, and blah, blah, blah. He said to me, "Eh. Most of parenting isn't about managing your kid it's about managing yourself. The rest works itself out from there." Best piece of parenting wisdom I've heard yet. Now, if only I wasn't so fucking difficult to manage!

Anonymous said...


I think your Finn is going to be fine. I don't think parents are fated to hurt their kids- not immensely so anyway. I think some kids grow up soaked to the gills in love and it shows. Good for you!

Of course, it is probably your knowledge of how much your actions affect him that will make a big difference.

Tina Rowley said...

You guys are smart. Thanks for saying your things. Hi. Good parents and good people in general. Hi. Thank you.


Thanks, Kyano! I'm enjoying sneaking over to your place as well!


Jodi James! Lookatcha. Also, will you have Brianna cancel my appointments also? I don't feel like having them anymore. I will just come over and watch you reading my blog.