My experience as a sculptor has taught me that most materials are only malleable to a point. Each material has its own beauty, but also has its limitations. I had the most amazing compliment from Rob a few weeks back, when he commented on how he was able to see my artfulness as a sculptor coming through in the way I’m parenting our children. I couldn’t have dreamt of a more lovely compliment. Sculpting is a way of observing and interacting that is very visceral. I enjoy getting my hands dirty. I suppose I feel the same way with my children. I want to be right in there with them, at the heart of all the messes. I am also at the mercy of their limitations, but the see limitless potential for my creations. They will be what they will be, but I can do my best to shape them and smooth the edges as they grow.
It is lovely to reflect on this idea of ‘parenting like a sculptor’ on the heels of a very turbulent week. When I’m working with materials and I don’t have a goal, the work is carefree and fun. When I have a deadline or a specific goal in mind, the work becomes forced and limited. I observed this same relationship last week with my children. I was too rigid. In my own anxious state, I felt I needed to be in control. As a result, I ended up ruining my work; my work is to be present with my children. Rather than placing rocks and allowing their flow to be diverted, I created dams.
I am happy to report that things have calmed down around here dramatically. After a morning of testing yesterday (to see if Mommy was really ‘back to normal’) we’ve fallen back into our usual rhythms. Pleasantly, there seems to be little residual hostility from my return to authoritarianism last week. And most delightfully, this medium I’m working with is the most pliable and forgiving I’ve ever encountered. I am encouraged to think about how growth is happening in my home. Last week I did not win the sprint, but I feel like I’ve got lots left to give in the marathon.