Family. Marriage. Parenthood.
It is hard to be all things to all people all the time.
It is hard to be “on” all the time.
It is hard not to want to be selfish every now and then and want some ME time.
It is hard to be kind with your tone of voice and affectionate with your actions when you are cranky.
It is hard to talk about the things that get under your skin or make you want to hide in the bathroom.
It is hard to watch your child not follow directions for no apparent reason.
It is hard to be part of a family, to be married, and to be a parent.
Like fragile pieces of crystal that reflect what is being shone upon them.
Like a recipe full of secret and magical ingredients that may or may not turn out exactly like you had planned.
Recently, my husband attended a workshop provided by his employer that made me reflect on the nature of family, marriage, and parenthood.
Because if we are being honest, I laughed when I saw the file folder with the materials from this workshop in my husband’s car. Not only did I laugh, I have not wanted to look inside. Because here’s the thing: I have been in a bad relationship. I have been (and am) in a good relationship. I have read the Five Love Languages and Parenting with Love and Logic, and too many other titles to name.
They all say the same things.
There I said it. All of these marriage-parenting-relationship how-to books say the same things. Maybe they have a different recipe or different lingo or different analogies. But they all say the same thing. No one is offering a magical, secret ingredient.
Which probably means that what they’re saying works. If you follow it. If you are committed to it.
If, if, if.
Maybe these things that they KEEP repeating, are the “secret ingredients.” And the trick is that you have to know how to use and care for and cook at just the right temperature.
Sometimes it is a even a leap of faith. Knowing that, in the end, it will be ok. No matter what.
A little bit like making a potion. Well, ok, not really, but as my daughter used two cups of sugar and flour tonight to add to a potion she is making (along with paper, beads, and string) I decided her belief that her potion might actually work is a bit like the trust and faith we need to be married or be parents. You have to put in each ingredient: the effort, the love, the trust, the faith, the acceptance, and the forgiveness…stir gently, and then hope.