Today is my son’s 17th birthday. I am wondering what it is that I have given him.

I lightheartedly told the kids yesterday that I was attempting to raise self-reliant emotionally mature people. But this is some serious work. Parenting is like the Kobiyashi Maru, the rigged test in Star Trek’s Star Fleet Academy for Fleet Captains. You’re going to fail to save everyone, the question is how many people will perish? Pondering Parenthood as My Son turns 17 on

I stood the storm when their bodies wanted to stay awake when they needed to sleep. When they needed to pee but didn’t get to the bathroom in time. When they fell ill and needed to come or stay home. When they neglected to do their work and I had to be the bad guy. When they didn’t feel like going but I made them go anyway.

I stand strong and still for them. And I keep remembering that I’m their mirror and they are mine. I show them how to not let myself be bullied by them so they can say no to other people later. I let them get away with just enough to think they’re getting away with stuff and then I bust them to keep them honest.Pondering Parenthood as My Son turns 17 on

But most of all, I can only give them as much compassion as I give myself. I can only get them to eat vegetables if I make them available and fun and I eat them too. I can only expect them to exercise if I model that. I can only ask them to think, read, write, create, and laugh if I do.

Being a parent has taught me to be a better parent for myself. And I give these people freely into the world knowing that it is a better place for them being in it.

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