The boy who makes waves

This essay, For the Boy Who Makes Waves, from the New York Times Modern Love column (Glo, like you, I love it) has me in tears. It is so beautiful, so direct, so self-disclosing. I love this man’s courage in admitting his weakness, in describing the great challenge of his life as that of being kind to his son.

I find the author’s candor deeply moving. The theme of how children challenge us to seek and strive for a better self really resonates. He writes:

I have had glimpses of the kind of man I should be. Such are the revelations we are afforded. Passing glimpses, like the small, hidden pond you pass while driving on a particular road for the first time. Suddenly opening up and then closing once again. So that it can be instantly forgotten, or recalled only in part.

Those lines give me that a-ha feeling where the world simultaneously shrinks to a tiny kernel of truth and opens into a yawning chasm of meaning. Yes, yes, yes. I’ve said something very similar myself before:

I feel like the mother that I want to be flits in and out of my days, perniciously resistant to capture, her rhythms confounding in their resolute illogicality. Her very presence – tolerant, patient, engaged – is a blessing, telling me that I am, occasionally, the parent I aspire to be. But it is also a deep reminder of how often I fail to meet those goals, an ever-present yardstick showing me how far I am from what my children deserve.

Thoughts for a Sunday, inspiring and daunting at the same time: how can I work harder to be a better mother for these darling, challenging, marvelous, painful children of mine?

2 thoughts on “The boy who makes waves”

  1. Sigh. Modern Love. One of my favorite Sunday rituals of past. Thanks for sharing this one. Really. How do you find the time?
    Keep asking the big questions. Clearly, you are a great mom.

  2. Thanks for pointing me to this fabulous Modern Love piece. I too struggle with the chasm between the parent I want to be – patient, present, fun – and the mother I so often am – tired, distracted, sad.

    You ask about working harder. From what I've read here, it seems that you're working plenty hard enough. I bet if you asked your kids, they'd describe you, in their own way, as the very mom you aspire to be. And, by confessing your feelings here, you're not only moving closer to your goal, but also doing a service to other parents out there – like me, like the Modern Love author – in acknowledging that this business of child-rearing takes tremendous effort.

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