What If We Were Honest?

Smoothie

“How are you?”

It’s a question I’m asked constantly as a parent. Most often I respond with “Good” or a similar sentiment. But, let’s be honest, there are at least three crises going on in each of my children’s lives.

  • My youngest isn’t eating enough.
  • My oldest is napping too long.
  • Then, thanks to Google, there are those mysterious symptoms that convince me that one or both of my children could die in the next 24 hours.

Really, I think all parents are on the verge of a meltdown.

But what would happen if we responded to that age-old question with honesty? How might the truth shape our relationships? And how might it help us navigate those tough moments?

This week a stranger tested the waters. After an early medical appointment in a nearby city, my son and I rewarded ourselves with smoothies. A middle-aged man – clearly just having completed a workout – peered down at my four-year-old son during our wait in line.

“Hey, Little Buddy!” I was delighted by his kindness, but then his tone shifted. His eyes found mine.

“You’d never believe it, but I have a 17-year-old son. Yep, he and his sister are addicted to weed.”

Did I really just hear that? And am I still holding onto my little boy’s hand?

Frankly, I didn’t remember the last time someone was so honest about their parenting struggles. He was in an I’m-so-sweaty-I’m-gross kind of hurry, so I waved goodbye as he exited. “Good luck” was all I could think to offer.

“Don’t worry, we’ll figure it out.”

More than a day has passed since that brief encounter, but I have returned to it many times in my mind. I think we could all be more like the Smoothie Dad – more vulnerable, more relational, more bold.

Because, as parents, we never know what’s ahead. But, if we’re very lucky, we’ll find another anxious soul riding out the same storm.

And the smoothie just may break the ice.

*For more adventures, follow Lauren on Facebook and Twitter.

::today’s daily inspiration::

One Year Ago: A Portrait of Imperfection

 

12 thoughts on “What If We Were Honest?

  1. Ashley Nabors

    I love this! Vulnerability is what so many souls are longing for but maybe just too afraid to go there for many reasons, perhaps one being believing the lie that he or she is the only one struggling with this or that. Being real, I’ve found, has helped me form such deeper relationships and sometimes causes the other person to go places they were too afraid to go. It helps us all!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I agree, Ashley. When this moment occurred, I thought to myself, “Wow, how inappropriate!” But, then, I started to see his strength in relating honestly. What if we all wore our badges of need? I think it would open the door for more love and reduce our temptation to judge. And who knows who we might meet 🙂 Thank you for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I never had any problem sharing our struggles (and there were many) – Those who listened, and shared their struggles in return, became real friends and have remained so to this day. Important to have that crutch.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed! I think finding those with whom we can be vulnerable about the challenges we face in parenting is essential. In this piece, I was hoping to go deeper: “What would happen if we could be transparent with more than just a select few? And what would happen if we actually could hear the rich perspectives of all those “stranger” parents?”

      I think we’d have so much to share.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh Lauren you are so right – I sympathise greatly with the father of the 17-year-old and it was obvious he was just so pre-occupied with worry about his family that it was even shared with a stranger.

        Sadly, the age at which our young people become “independent” (not financially!) and head out into the world remains the same but they are no longer prepared for what life throws at them. We now have a wonderful 21-year-old who seems to be on top of things but those years between 17 and 19 were truly the worst and I really needed to share our worries with whoever would listen – If they have a solid foundation and a set of loving parents who never, ever abandon them, that old chestnut “time” seems to be the ultimate healer. They grow out of it, but not much fun at the time I can tell you.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. From what I observe with my mostly 18- and 19-year-old students, those late teen years seem to be critical. And, yes, it’s difficult to prepare young people for a world that is changing so rapidly (and offering challenges imperceptible to even the most dedicated parents). Your story, however, reassures me that I’ll find my way when my littles enter those years 🙂

        On a related note, I have noticed as my children have moved from babies to toddlers to kids, it has become more challenging to find those diverse voices in the parenting realm. Mothers with new babies are always up for comparing horror stories, but, you know, I have sensed a closing off as my oldest is preparing for school next year. In some ways, I wish the raw vulnerability that mothers (and fathers, too) have in those early years could carry into the older years.

        Which is why I am so excited that we found one another in the blogging sphere – I appreciate every nugget you share! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I think in this day and age of 24 hour everything, parents don’t have a choice BUT to be blunt and honest with themselves and their children. As a dad to be, I find myself wondering how to balance my sanity and my child’s sanity together. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jose! I’m with you. Do we really have the power to withhold our innermost struggles when life becomes so raw? I just think of all the ways we could help one another if we knew the stories behind the tired eyes and the fatigued souls. Balance is elusive, but loving where we are is a choice. Wishing you well in this exciting time of anticipation!

      Like

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