They said it. I was listening to a lecture and they said it.
They didn’t know me, but it was like they were talking to me.
… to the mom that’s worried about the future of her kids, worried that something might happen, you’re terrified about all these terrible things that might happen to your kids … You know what, it might … This happens to mothers. The worst might just happen. But you have to realize that you have today. You get a shot. You get to raise this kid and you only have the joy of trying it today …
You’re trying to get a guarantee that your kid won’t end up screwed up. But you don’t get guarantees. Our desperate addiction to certainty and guarantee robs you of the joy of this moment, which is you get to try it now… you get a few years to raise this kid, you don’t get any guarantees, but you do get this moment to enjoy that kid, to give your best shot of being their mom and dad and that’s what you get … –Rob Bell
He said it.
And he was right. I do look for guarantees. I work hard, try hard, leave it all out there, and hope for the best, but in truth I am looking for a guarantee that my kids will be all right in the future. Isn’t that why I’m giving it all I’ve got?
But he’s right. I’ve got no assurances. And even though this scared the crap out of me, it was also a reminder. Stop hitting the snooze button. Stop! I needed to continue focusing on the present, on the moments between then and now. In life and in parenting, my proactive nature would be for the best in the long run. Don’t hit the snooze.
You wake up in the morning and realize you’ve got another chance to do it right, and at night you go to sleep and hope to put all the mistakes behind you (that piece of advice I just heard recently from Elizabeth Gilbert).
So no matter how well you walk the line, you don’t get guarantees, not the kind you want anyway, especially when it comes to kids or life. Crappy stuff happens. Sometimes it’s stuff that you’ll be able to find humor in right away, and other times it will be stuff that will take longer to recover from because your heart is broken.
But for parents trying to find the humor, here are the Top Seven Guarantees of Parents with kids 7-under …
- Just before you’re about to walk out the door, your kid will take a serious poop in their diaper that probably leaks onto their pants.This will require more than just wipes, in fact it will be a complete hose down and you’ll be late to wherever you’re going and for some reason you’ll still smell poop and realize that it’s on your shirt while you’re driving to wherever you’re going and you’ve got no extra shirt.
- No matter how hard you try to keep the peace your kids will argue about who had the red Lego first, about who was the first to open the door, about who didn’t want to play with who, about whose turn it was to watch Nick Jr, about which Superhero has the greatest superpower, and about the motion of the Earth … yup they’ll argue at least once a week, or once a day, and that will raise your blood pressure, give you gray hairs, and drain you of every ounce of energy you’ve got. It’ll make you wish you had a chocolate stash in every room of the house but you can’t because those bastard ants are crawling everywhere.
- You’ll have to talk to a pretentious prick of a parent the kind you wouldn’t lend your jumper cables to, all because your kid and their kid hang out at school and they’re trying to arrange a play date.
- You’ll always have spilled CapriSun, Goldfish Crackers, Wheat Thins, Craisins, Cheerios, and remnants of a once crispy In-and-Out french fry in every crack and crevasse of your car and you won’t be made aware of them until your kid throws up in the car, which is also an assurance.
- You’ll have to go to Chuck E. Cheese once during your parenthood existence and you’ll vow never to return again to that craziness, but know full well that it’s a lie.
- Bedtime doesn’t go according to schedule, between the bubble baths, teeth cleaning, ironing of clothes, reading of books and multiple attempts of trying to sleep in my bed instead of their own, bedtime happens about thirty minutes after you really wanted.
- They’ll hug you or smile at you at least once a day. And their laugh will make you feel good. (This is the one you aim for everyday).
The teenage years bring about a different set of guarantees … more than seven I imagine … I’ll let you know when I get there.