Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Art 101

In the last week, I've had two different sets of friends give birth to their first baby.  In the world of parenting, it's always interesting to watch reality unfold for these couples as they are first handed that slimy, squirmy, wrinkled newborn and told, "Congratulations!  Now good luck!".

Princess #3, fresh.
If you've ever had an, "Uh, now what?" moment, this is it.

The reality is, whether we like it or not, we all walk into parenting with certain expectations.  Even the expectation of having no expectations.

I really dislike unsolicited advice, so I tend to shy away from offering any myself.  But if asked, my favorite thing to say is, "Hang on tight.  Just when you think you've got them figured out, they change the rules."  And it's so true.  It pains me so much to see new parents desperately trying to fit their baby into the mold that was described in The Book, when so many times the baby is making their own mold (and breaking it in the process).

I figure bringing home a baby for the first time is like looking at a blank canvas.  I can't imagine for the life of me why a parenting couple would try to frame the masterpiece (in other words, choose a parenting style) before it's completed.  What if the frame doesn't fit?  What if it doesn't match the style of the artwork?  What if they accidentally get paint outside the frame and on the wall?  What if they just don't like the frame they've chosen once they get it home and get it on the wall?

Sometimes the most beautiful works of art don't begin with a calculated plan.  Sometimes, the artist who allows the paint to flow freely without restraints of "How To" books discovers the most honest work.

Expectations are bound to exist.  But I think true parenting beauty can be found when we allow ourselves to look beyond the expectations, past the "rules" that babies are supposed to follow, and we embrace the true work of art given to us, and build a frame that's truly worth the beauty it encompasses.


1 comment:

  1. I absolutely love this post! It really made me think a lot about my year & how my perspective on everything has changed. Becoming a mom has been such a wild ride, but it's such an incredible thing & I agree that it's something where you need to be willing to color outside the lines - frequently.

    PS - thanks for being my blog friend this year! I've really loved getting to know you!!!


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