You know what’s tough to do as a parent? Letting the ordinary be extraordinary.
When our children are born, we become shepherds of their lives, subtly and not-so-subtly directing them to the lands of our hopes and dreams. It’s a tremendous gift for us and our children.
But the new job comes with pressure. A lot of it. Even before birth, we begin to put pressure on ourselves to create an optimal environment that sparks our children’s imaginations, fills them with love and curiosity, and promotes their wellbeing.
These are all things that we desperately want to do. And so we ask ourselves constantly, “are we doing enough? Are we doing this right? Should we be doing more? Should we be doing less?” We find no perfect answers, just more questions.
At times, our quest for the extraordinary saps our energy, shakes our confidence, and threatens the joy of parenthood.
But we shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves. We are enough. We don’t always have to be extraordinary, offer the extraordinary, and demand the extraordinary. Oftentimes, all we really need is to trust the ordinary.
In the picture above, our kids and their Daddy are “camping” underneath a blanket in our bed. Our kids’ imaginations run wild. Sometimes they’re snuggling to stay warm as a storm passes outside; other times they hear birds chirping outside the tent. And sometimes Daddy just tickles everyone because it’s fun!
A few weeks back, we went on our first real camping excursion, not just the make-believe version. In the foothills of Colorado, we pitched a tent, set up four sleeping pads and bags, and prepared two meals — all with two little campers running around the campground.
We had a lot of fun, but it took a lot of effort to pack up the family for a night in the woods. Too much effort to duplicate every weekend or even every month. It was our Super Mommy and Daddy moment. We were proud of ourselves and our kids.
But we can’t always be superheroes. It’s not sustainable. Sometimes we just have to be ordinary.
And you know what’s amazing? Incredible love, laughter, and growth come from the ordinary.
Honestly, our kids have as much fun “camping” under a blanket on our bed as they do in a tent under the stars. We’ll keep doing both because, let’s face it, nothing quite captures the grandeur of nature like nature itself.
Well, except for maybe the imagination of a child. In their little creative minds, the ordinary transforms itself into the extraordinary.
So let's allow our children to shepherd us sometimes, and we might just find ourselves in a dreamland too.