On Showing Up
I read a line once that stuck with me, “at any moment, we can choose to show up.”
I can’t think of any better phrase to describe parenting.
At first, parenting is the physical showing up. Changing diapers, feeding around the clock. But over time it’s the emotional showing up that matters. Children need empathy, guidance, snuggles. I read a parenting book that said most of the time children don’t need advice, rather, they need someone to share their emotions with. They need us to understand that their needs are real and valid.
And that is hard. It is hard to show up for others’ feelings constantly when we have emotions and separate lives of our own. We often don’t talk about how parenting asks us to sometimes push aside ourselves to be there for others. Being present for them when they need it. This is the constant emotional drain of parenting. So we also need to remember to show up for ourselves as parents. We need to remember that our emotions around parenting are real and valid, too.
Showing up for ourselves and our children can teach them to be present not only for themselves but for others. One of my kids is much more emotionally sensitive than the others. It can be hard for me to show up for her in intense moments. But her brother shows up. He helps her out. His empathy in those moments can truly be breathtaking.
We are not perfect as people or parents. But we can get up in the morning and show up. It can be the hardest but also the easiest choice we can make. And we get to make that choice again and again. What a gift.