Parenthood Will Wreck You.

A Poem

Parenthood will wreck you.
It will take your emotions, your sense of self, your delusions of control 
And thrash them about the room like a dog with a chew toy.
It will have you look into the sparkling eyes of a newborn and ache with love and fear that you – you – are the keeper and protector of this child.
Those same eyes you will look into some years later – ten, twelve, fourteen, who knows? – and see the confused and angry soul of an adolescent, newly baptized in the knowledge of good and evil and all of your virtues and shortcomings.
You will try to control this child, this person that you see, mistakenly, as an extension of yourself
And you will realize that you can coerce, cajole, convince, and counsel
But control, you cannot. 
You will realize that deep down you do not want to control them, but see them emerge from the cocoon of your caring intact, whole, and fully themselves.
You will turn your attention to the world around them and attempt control there: 
	– to shield them from pain
	– to prevent their broken bones
	– to protect them from disappointment
But you cannot do even that.
You will learn than you can soften the blows of the tumult, but you cannot keep them dry from the storms
Not completely.
You will learn that you can be a witness to their joy and their pain
That if you are lucky 
If you are patient
If you are constant
You will be invited to enter it, too.

You will see your parents with new eyes
And wonder at all they did and did not do
At all they tried and did not try.
You will plumb the depths of forgiveness and understand that one day, your children will plumb these depths, too,
Because of you
And all you did and did not do
And all you tried and did not try
And you will hope, as your parents do, for grace
And understand, as your parents do, that grace does not always abound.
But sometimes
If you are lucky
If you are patient
If you are constant
Love abounds.
You will realize that parenting is not, nor has it ever been, for the faint of heart.
Because, you see,
You know
That parenthood will wreck you
Will reform you
Will restore you
Will require you 
To question everything, including who the hell you thought you were to embark on this fool’s errand with nothing but a car seat and naivete,
Will leave you lying in the wreckage
With a smile on your face.

11 responses to “Parenthood Will Wreck You.”

  1. Irie, great piece! I agree with ALL of it except the “wreckage” reference at the end! Best wishes!

  2. Beautiful and wise poem, Irie! It’s hard to not be able to protect kids (and grandkids) from broken bones and other harsh realities. Praying for y’all.

  3. Martha Twaddell Avatar
    Martha Twaddell

    This hit me hard, Irie. Thank you for writing it.

    1. Thank you for reading ❤️

  4. Amen, Sister! I’ve never seen a better writing on the struggle of parenthood! The struggle is real. We each do our best. Much love and prayers for your struggle.♥️🙏🏻

  5. Perfect

  6. Wow, Irie, what an eloquent capture of this journey. Thank you for sharing it with the rest of us.

  7. Irie. Loved this poem, such true words of love.

  8. Irie – your words are true but they are more than true. They are heart rending, filled with grace undeserved and understanding from one mother’s heart to many others. Thank you for this lovely gift. Love you,Sara Lee

  9. […] this year, when my daughter broke her leg, I wished that the traumatic event never happened and that she could have lived her whole life without knowing such pain. But sitting in the hospital, I had to remind myself:This is happening. I can’t do anything to […]

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