Laying Down The Guilt and Fear of Parenting


He runs like he is going somewhere. Leans forward into it like a rocket going sideways, which would make him proud if he heard-that he looks like a rocket. Rockets leave the earth, leave their people-the smartest people on earth- rocket scientists and mothers.

But for all that gravity does for us, it can’t hold onto a rocket headed for other worlds.

And I feel him slipping away some days and a sadness that I can’t explain grounds me to earth where it feels like I should be able to hold on tighter. Guilt slips in unaccountably comfortable, as if it was there all along, hat in hand waiting for me to open the door.

It’s the guilt that burdens me, but fear paralyzes. Together they speak things over my heart: you haven’t done enough for him. You can’t do enough.
I know that when guilt comes prosecuting, it means I’m not operating in strength. It reads down a list of my shortcomings and knows that I’m not prepared to defend. Then fear reveals only the worst of possible futures until it occurs to me that…I am not on trial.

And I see that there is a determination in his focus that I can’t touch. There is freedom in his limbs that can’t exist in my arms. I realize that holding tight to him in these moments would be tragic and selfish. He needs to blaze away from me at times or he’ll never know the feeling of wind on his face and strength of his own.
I can’t stop looking backwards at the boy I know. Sometimes I feel like I only really know him in the looking back. His future is his and when I’m at my best, this is a comfort. It’s a freedom to lay down guilt and fear like a falling away of rocket boosters-the only way of a successful launch.



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