We ended up in the baking isle at the same time. I could hear her talking on the phone clearly anxious about the task ahead of her. When she hung up we were both scouring the same shelves. “What are you working on?” I asked.
She lifted up a cake pan in the design of a children’s elephant. “I’m trying to make this, but the cake has to be gluten free and the icing has to be gluten and corn free. So I can’t simply pick from all of this.”
I thought back to all of the cakes I have made for my kid over the years. I realised how much harder her task would be trying to accommodate food sensitivities. Perhaps the greatest blessing, I suggested, is that the child is still young and will thus be forgiving if things don’t look exactly like the picture. What is really important, of course, is that he can have a Birthday cake and not get sick.
Time and a willingness to take calculated risks makes a difference. To borrow from Samuel Beckett: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” That is the heart of parenting in any age. If we are honest with ourselves, we would likely have to admit that most of the time we are just making it up as we go along, hoping that what we do will be OK; that we won’t end up harming our children; that we will both survive our mistakes because at the end of the day we love our kids no matter what their issues may be.
In the midst of these struggles it can help to have others with whom we can share our stories, our struggles, and our joys. We can learn from each other, support each other, laugh and cry with each other. This is the heart of Thrive! A living manual for families – a youth and family ministry project in Essex County.