Like I’ve said before, few things feed my self-doubt like parenting. In most other things I’m involved in, I’m reasonably sure of myself and believe that I can do the job just as well as anyone else. Parenting though – oy veh. I doubt almost every decision I have to make, and as every parent knows, there are LOTS of decisions. Is it okay to give them snacks before supper once in awhile? Should I get them involved in as many activities as their friends are involved in? Are they doing enough chores around the house? If I say they can’t play soccer during the winter because we can’t afford the exhorbitant rates of indoor leagues, will it damage their chances of progressing next year? Should I let them quit piano or should I push them a little harder? If they have a fight with one of their friends, what’s the best way to respond? Oh the pressure!
Every once in awhile, though, the light shines through, and I know I’ve given them some small intangible gift that makes up for some of the poor decisions I might have made.
Last week, Craig Kielburger was talking about an experience he’d had somewhere in Africa. He’d been visiting a village where they’d helped dig a well, and when the rain started to pour down, the visitors had all run for cover while the local people had run out into the downpour. One of the villagers had come to him and dragged him outside saying “It’s raining! We have to dance! Rain is good! We need rain for our crops to grow!”
While he spoke, I smiled – remembering that just the week before, Maddie had tried to drag me outside. “Mom! It’s raining! Let’s go outside!” I was busy at the time and didn’t really want to get wet, so I stayed inside, but she went and played in the front yard and came inside soaked to the bone and grinning.
Suddenly, as I listened to Craig’s story, the memory of that moment made my eyes fill with tears. Of COURSE she wanted me to go outside – she still believes that that’s what you do when it rains! Last year, when it finally rained after a dry spell, the girls and I all ran outside to dance with the raindrops. (You can find pictures here – check out Maddie’s face!) We followed our dance with a walk around the block where splashing through puddles was mandatory.
The moment of realization was a tiny affirmation that I’m doing alright as a mom. I might mess up now and then, but at least I’m raising a child who believes that when it rains, you really should dance.