Several years ago I read something which completely changed who I am as a parent. I was introduced to works of the poet Pattiann Rogers and the below poem tugged at my heartstrings. In an anthology of her work she acknowledged her sons: "who have been perfect in every way, enriching and broadening my life, never ceasing to fill me with wonder and amazement and pride,...".
What I took away from that was that my children have always been, always are, and always will be perfect in each moment. That doesn't mean I'll love their every behavior, nor that I don't expect change and growth, but at each moment they are exactly where they need to be, even even when they infuriate me most! That shift in viewpoint took the burden of approving of or even liking every moment. As a result I grew in patience and tolerance allowing them to "be" themselves--all I really need to do is steward them, to hold space for them as a safe container.
This shift continues to inform my parenting and even how I treat myself and others. I hope it might be useful to some of you, and that you'll enjoy the below work of brilliance.
For John A. and Arthur
By Pattiann Rogers
This is what I ask: that if they must be taken
They be taken like the threads of the cotton grass
Are taken by the summer wind, excited and dizzy
And safe, flying inside their own seeds;
And if they must be lost that they be lost
Like leaves of the water starwort
Are lost, submerged and rising over and over
In the slow-rooted current by the bank.
I ask that they always be found
With the same sure and easy touch
The early morning stillness uses to find itself
In needles of dew on each hyssop in the ditch.
And may they see everything the boatman bug,
Shining inside its bubble of air, sees
Through silver skin in the pond-bottom mud,
And may they be obliged in the same way the orb snail,
Sucking on sedges in shallow water, is obliged.
And may they be promised everything a single blade
Of sweet flag, kept by the grip of the elmid
On its stem, kept by the surrounding call
Of the cinnamon teal, kept by its line
In the marsh-filled sky, is promised.
Outloud, in public and in writing, I ask again
That solace come to them like sun comes
To the egg of the longspur, penetrating the shell,
Settling warmth inside the potential heart
And beginnings of bone. And I ask that they remember
Their grace in the same way the fetal bird remembers light
Inside the blackness of its gathering skull inside
The cave of its egg.
And with the same attention a streamer of ice
Moving with the moon commands, with the same decision
The grassland plovers declare as they rise
From the hayfields into the evening sky,
I ask that these pleas of mine arrest the notice
Of all those angels already possessing a lasting love
For fine and dauntless boys like mine.