It Doesn’t Happen All At Once

No one is the parent they want to be. That’s the bad news. The good news is that most of us are better parents than we were.

We’ve talked a lot about the big choice we all have to make. Are we just somebody who has kids? Or are we a parent? And while this is a choice, it’s also more of an aspiration. You don’t magically, suddenly become the perfect parent. How could you? There’s so much you don’t know, so many lessons you haven’t learned, so many gifts you haven’t been given yet. So much stuff hasn’t happened yet.

In The Velveteen Rabbit, the toy rabbit asked the old worn and wise toy horse how to become *real–*how to be more than one of those mechanical, trendy toys that get worn out and broken and tossed aside. The rabbit wants to know what he’s supposed to do, whether it’s just something he commits to or asks for or what. And he wants to know also, is this something that happens suddenly, or little by little?

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” the horse replies. “You become. It takes a long time.” It has to do with opening yourself up, he explains. It’s about a willingness to be hurt. It takes resilience, he says–the easily broken toys, they never make it. You have to accept being worn down and used up. It’s a day-to-day thing, but once it happens, you’re changed forever.

So it goes for us. We make our choice…and then this choice–the love of our kids, given and received–that makes us. Little-by-little, day-by-day. It takes a long time. But we become.

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