By Jessica Rios
There are many things we can only know when we’re “in it”. In the experience of it, tasting all its flavours close-up. Parenting has been this way for me.
Without question, parenting has been the most rigorous work of my life. Physical elements are part of it – the diapers, nursing and social planning – but the big-huge-colossal-galactic part of the work of parenting isn’t tangible, visible, or often even name-able.
It is emotional work. It is spiritual work. It grows us, stretches us, calls out the parts of us that want to emerge. Our greatest learning and growth can live inside our parenting, when we let them.
Before I was a parent, I thought a parent could provide everything their child needed in terms of guidance and wisdom. Once I had a child, I realised this is untrue. While much guidance can come from a parent, each child needs more than one parent can offer.
I’ve seen it in my friends’ children. Eyes and hearts longing to know love from all the adults around them. I’ve seen it in my child, her sense of inner trust expanding when she is parented by someone other than me or her father.
Once, while camping, my daughter was about 20 yards away from me, playing with friends. From where I stood, I could see she needed something but I also knew there were parents closer to her who might help. I felt a longing.
Within my chest, I hoped those parents would help.
And they did!
I felt relieved. My daughter got her need met and I didn’t have to meet it. Someone whose values and ways I trusted, helped her out. Through this, my daughter grew more trusting of the world - that people would take care of her, not just her parents.