humble pie.

pie“I love it when my children make mistakes.”
This quote is not mine. Not even a little. Not a smidge.

I wish it were.

You see, I’m just getting used to living imperfectly myself. {don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t perfect before- I just held that expectation tightly in my fist}. I’m just getting started living a life in which I know I’ll make mistakes. Blunders. Total f*uck-ups. {sorry for the language, Mom}.

But my children? I secretly wish they were perfect.

Not because I want them to earn a 4.0 GPA or win states for their athletic prowess or national recognition for their community devotion.

I wish they were perfect so they didn’t face ridicule. Or shame. Or judgment. I wish they were perfect so they’d be protected from harm. And I know it’s not possible. And I know that we only grow deeper through adversity. I know.

But I still wish.

This weekend we were away with three other families. People who have known us for years. People who are a part of my children’s village. And while we were there each of my children made mistakes in developmentally appropriate ways. But they felt like f*ck-ups on a public stage. {again, sorry Mom}.

And I was scared and mortified. And I invited this part of our village in to help our children learn and grow and reflect. But all I wanted to do was hide them. And beg. Please, please still love my children.

When they are little our children’s mistakes are physical. They can’t get a spoon to their mouth, tie a shoe or balance a bike. We patiently help them learn. Practice these motor skills until intent matches ability. And we are comfortable doing this publically. There is a common understanding that it is no big deal, right?

So how do we practice emotional flubs and intellectual f*uck-ups? {truly Mom, sorry}.

Because we need mistakes to happen. We need our children to have experiences that expose their moral gawkiness or cognitive awkwardness. Otherwise, we cannot see their internal gaps, or areas where they need to rehearse new strategies.

And they need crooning and closeness and love through these mistakes now just as they did when kisses and band-aids made everything better.

And so do we. Or it might just be me. But I don’t think it is.

Because there was a story in the news recently about 300 New York state teens who broke into a home, partied, trashed the place, and splattered evidence all over social media. The homeowner is trying to be a village elder and help them learn. Their parents are threatening to sue him.

So, when our children make mistakes, how can we turn with open arms to our community instead of turning in? How can we ask for help instead of hiding in shame or lashing out as a result of our pain? How can we be vulnerable in our most tender places, the hearts of our children?

I don’t have a pat response or easy answer.

As our children grow they increasingly look outside of their family for guidance. Where once we were their entire universe, we are now becoming just part of their world. So I think our job as parents is to become the village for other people’s children.

Or at least, that’s what worked for me this weekend. It was beautiful. And it was humbling. And it still feels a little bit scary and slightly mortifying. And I think all together that adds up to vulnerability.

At least, I hope so.

So here’s to mistakes. Mine. Yours. Our children’s. Let’s expect them. Know they are part of growing. For all of us. Let’s love, if not the mistake, then the child who is making them. And here’s to the vulnerability that comes along side mistakes. Served cool and sweet like ice cream on hot humble pie. How does it taste? Keep me posted.

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