This is what I believe.
April 18, 2011

“I don’t get it,” the e-mail reads.  “What do you believe?”

Naturally, it’s the sort of message that catches your eye when you find it in your inbox.  I wrote back immediately.  Believe about WHAT?!

I mean, are we talking about what I believe about people who pick their noses in cars?  Just driving around in a transparent box digging out boogers?  Because I think those people are damned lucky they haven’t pulled up next to their childhood pal or an ex at the stoplight yet.

Or are we talking about what I believe about my toddler using the words COCK and FUCK and SHIT all the time?  Because I believe she’s trying to say peacock, clock, fork, sit, and foot.  It’s just coming out wrong.  I SWEAR.

Heh.  Get it?  I swear?  Heh.

I bust me up.

The response was a single line, ten minutes later.  “What do you believe – and what do you not believe – about parenting?”

For a few weeks, that question dominated my thoughts.  As I parent my daughter, guiding her in the ways of our family’s life together, I wondered about it.  What do I believe about parenting?  And what I found is that every single moment, I believe something different.  Everything I believe about parenting is subject to change.  I believe in something – except for when I don’t.  I don’t believe in other things – except for when I do.

Over the weekend, a man we love came home.  He scooped his children into his arms.  He kissed his wife.  He met his baby for the very first time.  We all smiled and laughed and chattered and rejoiced.  We all felt relief, such immense relief, that he came home safe.  Alive.  That our family’s missing piece was back in place.

And I thought: this, THIS is what matters.  This is happiness.  This is love.

And I thought: this is what I believe about parenting.  I believe in family.  Togetherness.  Joy.  Gratitude.  Love.

But when I went to type that into the e-mail, it seemed a little too touchy-feely.  So I added in the bit about vehicular nose-picking.  I wouldn’t want people to think I’ve gone soft or anything.


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  1. By The Mommy Therapy on April 18, 2011

    What a seemingly overwhelming and difficult question to answer.  I do like both your answers.  :)

  2. By Nicole on April 18, 2011

    i LOVE this. this is what families are made of. nothing to do with money, or size of house, or cars, or vacation. TOGETHERNESS. LOVE. JOY.

  3. By Sarah on April 18, 2011

    exactly. It really drives me nuts when I change the way I think about something and people are like “I thought you didn’t “beleive” in that??? “ A good parent does what is best for her child, not because one time, when she was a naive parent of a six week old, she made an off hand comment about   a parenting issue she had never dealt with. It is human to change your mind. Kudos to you for telling us all you do it too! and tell your soldier, thanks from all of us!

  4. By on April 18, 2011

    well, that email was obviously from someone who doesn’t read your blog, right?

  5. By erin on April 18, 2011

    great post!!  i laughed! it got put right into place and lined up.  nicely put. 
    I was contemplating how to reduce the amount that we swear as my 14 month old may start talking soon. it will take some weening to get us off our language. 
    now i see there is a plan B - just pretend you dont even notice!

  6. By Amber on April 19, 2011

    Heehee, I totally agree about the nosepicking…WE CAN SEE YOU PEOPLE! Except of course when it’s dark…then it’s okay. Your comment about the naive things you say before you know better really hit home. Before Nate was born, I WAS NOT going to be “one of those” moms who breast fed past 18 months. That’s just weird :) Such an idiot!


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