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the Presence Point

The Soft Edge...of Parenting

The Soft Edge...of Parenting

My daughter is turning two in 3 days. We have had quite a journey these last two years, three if you count the time she was in my belly.

Recently, she threw a small dish, which I happened to be fairly attached to. It shattered all over the ceramic floor tiles. I was worried that she would step down and hurt her bare feet on the shards. But more than just the dish broke - I broke. I had been struggling with her throwing and breaking things for a number of months, and I had tried to reason with her, to describe why I don’t like when things are broken, why a mess can be both dangerous and irritating.

To make matters more confusing, I consistently try to teach her that attachment will bring suffering - and here I was actively demonstrating that truth!

I’m sure all of you will tell me that trying to reason with a toddler is not the way to go. But apparently my tears and frustration had not broken through to the total truth. When this particular dish was thrown, I lost it. I screamed and yelled and threw my fists against the counter, hurting my own hands. I wept. And Odessa watched the whole thing, horrified. It seems that she had been waiting to find my final edge on this topic.

Well, she found it.

That was three weeks ago and she has not thrown anything since then.

I am worried now that she is paranoid about making a mess. Mess is okay, I say. We can clean it up! The journey forward now looks like me finding the softer edges and teaching them to her.

I should say, I have read no parenting books. I am making this up as I go. It seems that together we find our boundaries and then we find a way to soften them. I’m sure there is a better way to parent, but this feels genuine and good to me.

Once I find and define my own boundaries around a particular issue, I find I am able to soften them. But I often don’t know how to soften if I don’t know the edge. And it seems to work that way with Odessa as well. Once she knows what the edge is, and once we walk that together, we both are able to find ways to soften and expand. To grow. This must be the learning process as seen through the lens of parenting. I don’t know, you’ll have to tell me what your experience is.

What I do know, for sure, is that our love and connection are blossoming and flourishing, and we are able to find the humor together, once the storms have passed. I am certain there will be a million more storms to come, but I am also certain that we both have enough trust in ourselves and one another to weather them - finding the edges and softening and expanding together.

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