Hold and release

When we moved into our house three years ago, there was no screen door. So, as soon as I got around to it, I had one installed. But it was really tight. It threatened to slam fingers or bottoms that didn’t clear it quickly enough as it shut. I thought we just had to live with it.

In parenting there seem to be so many things we have to do. So many rules to enforce. So many things to say, “no,” to. It often makes me hold so tight.

No, we can’t watch more than an hour of tv (even that is too much!!)!

No, dear three year old, you should put yourself to sleep.

No, sweet 10 month old, you shouldn’t need me 3-4 times at night.

We must have more veggies.

We need to play outside more.

And on, and on.

I put so much pressure on myself to do things “as they should be.” I hold so tight to the rules.

My neighbor came by. She is one of the most capable humans I know. She landscapes and woodworks and raises chickens and gardens with ease. She seems to parent with ease, too, though I’m not naive enough to think that parenting is easy for anyone. She offered to fix our screen door the other day.

I’ve been looking for a fix for the holding tight in my parenting life. I realized I can’t change my babes. The three year wants me to be next to her as she falls asleep. The 10 month old will wake up as often as she pleases thankyouverymuch.

But I’ve found some kind of magic space lately, some release. I’m leaning into the things my children want. I’m releasing my tight hold. Taking slow, deep breathes. Enjoying the close snuggle of children as they pass from wakefulness to sleep. Recognizing the temporary beauty of this time. Just letting it be what it is.

My neighbor came over with a phillips head screw driver and after no more than 8 minutes, she loosened our screen door. It swings slowly now, let’s you get by with a little more space, without so much stress and hurry.

It’s what I’m feeling in parenting lately, too. A little more space. A tiny bit less stress and hurry.

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