Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Wholehearted Parenting

Bookmark and Share
God knows I am giving this special needs journey with Noah everything I have and then some. Around every corner there seems to be someone who wants to jump in and tell you that you could be doing more - could be doing things differently - could be doing things better. I'm trying. I'm trying as hard as one mother can try. I can push Noah only so far before I break him like a fragile vase. We're pushing Noah as much as we think is possible without crushing his spirit. Eight hours of a special needs camp isn't going going to "fix" Noah. Demanding he be forced to walk for two hours a day, or scolded if he soils a diaper at almost age four... that isn't going to "fix" Noah's quadriplegia cerebral palsy. There are lots of parents with typical children that push glory onto the next generation. I know, as I came from a father that did that. He demanded that his children be nothing less than a concert pianist and major league baseball star. When we both fell short, his withdrew his love from us. Most importantly I don't want history to repeat itself, I don't want to place demands or goals that can't be reached. I don't want Noah to ever wake up and feel that he's less because he can't walk or talk. That somehow I won't love him as much if one day he doesn't stand up on a podium somewhere and make this incredible miracle speech and walk to accept a diploma. Noah will never disappoint us. It's impossible. I am living without expectations for either of my children. I'm just thankful they both are here, breathing... and happy.

Sure I dream of a world where Noah's physical abilities are restored, I haven't given up hope and faith that they still may. I always am praying and asking God for that miracle. And you hear of children that don't talk until they are five, don't walk until they are twelve. It happens. It's possible. But I want Noah to feel he's doing it for him, not for us. That he will be loved no matter what the future holds. And that as a family we'll face the unknown together, find courage and hope together.

I stumbled on something the other day called the Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto from Darling Greatly - Brene Brown. It was beautiful and everything I feel about our family's life. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

The Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto

Above all else, I want you to know that you are loved and lovable. You will learn this from my words and actions - the lessons on love are in how I treat you and how I treat myself.

I want you to engage with the world from a place of worthiness. You will learn that you are worthy of love, belonging, and joy every time you see me practice self compassion and embrace my own imperfections.

We will practice courage in our family by showing up, letting ourselves be seen, and honoring vulnerability. We will share our stories of struggle and strength. There will always be room in our home for both.

We will teach you compassion by practicing compassion with ourselves first; then with each other. We will set and respect boundaries; we will honor hard work, hope and perseverance. Rest and play will be family values, as well as family practices.

You will learn accountability and respect by watching me make mistakes and make amends, and by watching how I ask for what I need and talk about how I feel.

I want you to know joy, so together we will practice gratitude.

I want you to feel joy, so together we will learn how to be vulnerable.

When uncertainty and scarcity visit, you will be able to draw from the spirit that is a part of our everyday life.

Together we will cry and face fear and grief. I will want to take away your pain, but instead I will sit with you and teach you how to feel it.

We will laugh and sing and dance and create. We will always have permission to be ourselves with each other. No matter what, you will always belong here.

As you begin your Wholehearted journey, the greatest gift that I can give to you is to live and love with my whole heart and to dare greatly.

I will not teach or love or show you anything perfectly, but I will let you see me, and I will always hold sacred the gift of seeing you. Truly, deeply seeing you.


Noah's Miracle by Stacy Warden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.