Parenting is hard. Of course, it’s also joyful, and awe-inspiring, and wondrous. All of that. But it’s okay to say that it’s hard, too. Anything you do day in and day out, especially anything you’re learning on the job, would be hard. Parenting, though, is a special kind of hard, and that’s because it comes with a veritable trousseau of baggage that you’ve collected over the course of your lifetime. Everything you think you know about yourself, about your strength of character and the way you were raised, will come into question when you have a child.
It’s just part of the process, albeit a very painful part. Your child will be a reflection of some parts of you or your partner (if you’re raising a child with a partner), and that reflection will be sometimes adorable and sometimes terrifying. ‘Oh no, is that what I’m like when I’m angry?’ you’ll wonder, knowing that the answer is absolutely yes. They’ll inherit some traits that you didn’t know you loved about yourself, and some traits you kind of hoped would get lost in the mix.
Some parts of them will be brand new, too, and you’ll have to figure out how to navigate those as well.
I’m thinking about all of this because a verse jumped out at me as I was reading the Torah portion this week. God is giving further instructions on how to craft the Ark of the Covenant and telling Moses who will be tasked with the creation of this sacred object. “See, I have singled out by name Bezalel son of Uri son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah,” says God in Exodus 31:2. Why Bezalel, you wonder? God answers that right away. “I have endowed him with a divine spirit of skill, ability, and knowledge in every kind of craft, to make designs for work in gold, silver, and copper, to cut stones for setting and to carve wood — to work in every kind of craft,” He says in Exodus 21:3–5.
In other words, Bezalel was just born talented. Which is not a revelatory statement. Of course we are each born with our own specific gifts and abilities. As a mom, I would be happy to sit and tell you all about my child’s inherent genius. Yes, I know this is a cliché, and no, I don’t care.
The part that has me thinking is what this means for my role as a parent. I know that some things about my kid just are the way they are. For example, the way he never sits still. This is…