Tuesday, May 3, 2011
The Big Dig
I can understand her pain. Change is not easy. Change sucks sometimes. It's slow and takes time. But, it takes consistency and persistence, too. And in the midst of all of that, tears, fears, and exasperation will assuredly flow. It's hard to trust the process, especially when there is no trust between the parents and children, and no trust in themselves. I am not patient, though many people believe that I am. I am not laid back, though it may appear that way. And I am not a special breed of parent that can parent this way. What I am more than anything is a changed parent. What I wanted more than anything was a different me. I wanted to reach out to her and say-- it's okay, I've been there, and that it does work. But I also wanted to ask--how willing are you? How committed are you? Do you want change bad enough? Because if you do, you will have to prove it to them, and to yourself, over and again.
I wanted it so much that I was willing to do the work to make that change. I cried. They cried. I yelled. I slammed doors. It was very very hard. I liken it to swimming across a large body of rough, gray waters. The other side is peace, respect, and a whole new relationship-- a wonderfully close and loving relationship. I could give up the swim and turn back. Or, I could tough it out and feel the burn. When we get a glimpse of how it could be, I believe there is no other option than feeling the burn. I chose to tough it out. I talked to my children all the time about what I was feeling, how I was acting, and how I had hoped to respond. And with all that difficulty and pain, something was happening. Healing. Forgiveness. Vulnerability. Raw honesty. I could have believed that this way of parenting would never have worked for me, and I did question myself many times. But, true healing and true change comes from digging. I call it the "Big Dig". I had to find me, the real me, before I could give it to my children. I was armed with a sincere (perhaps even desperate) desire to change and the willingness to bear discomfort by digging into my emotional past. I also found support. Support is imperative, whether it's through books, through parenting groups, and through like-minded parents, and parents who inspire that change is possible. But if anyone wants sympathy, excuses, or reasons why it wouldn't work, those can be found, too. Those, are everywhere.