James Urbinski, a humanitarian worker, calls humanitarian work an “imperfect offering.” There is never enough to give. There are never enough resources and people to help. I feel the same about parenting and working. Not even necessarily the two combined, but standalone focus on just parenting or just working has imperfect offering woven throughout. There is never enough of me to go around yet I am expected to be en pointe all the time. And there is never enough of any one human to do this.
After our move to our new house last month, Peach started a new school, after we had started at her other familiar school. Her and Grub’s first day greeting agenda was impressive: it was as though each student in the school had been apprised of their arrival, greeting them at the door by name and making sure they had buddies. Although both Peach and Grub have many new friends now, adjusting to so many new faces and routines has been a challenge for everyone.
These challenges have brought on many emotions, understandably. When she is stressed, Peach either explodes into a frenzied dervish of complaints and frustration or crumples into a tired ball, cuddling with our insouciant family cat and her well worn blanket, her bee-bee. It is when she sleeps, that I can study her. Just like the wiggly toddler who barely held still while exploring the world at all waking hours, my now nine-year-old girl is tall and leggy, hardly holding still for a brush through her snarly hair or a quiet conversation.
It’s beneath her, she might as well say to me. Talking to Mom is kind of boring. She’s too busy making pinky promises with friends, creating beautiful artwork that she inevitably rips up because she wants it to look different, selling lemonade to the neighbors, and forming herself into the larger person she will become. With that piecing together comes the realization that life is not fair. It’s not fair to you that your brother was sitting on the chair first. It’s not fair that you missed the last doughnut because Dad ate it while you were watching TV. It’s not fair that you have a younger brother and sister who want to follow you around. You will see, this is not even the cusp of what is unfair in this world.
I hope that profound, soul-crushing unfairness is not the masonry or the cornerstone of your fiery strength. You will see the injustices of this world and learn how to dissolve them powerfully. You will steep in sadness and learn not to absorb and internalize it all. You will remain stubborn (you are never NOT stubborn!) to help fight. And most of all I hope you know that our family’s love can strengthen you no matter what. This is my imperfect offering to you.
I love you, Peach. I hope this year is your best one yet. You are becoming more and more independent, even decorating your own cake (pandan, of course)! Now to attend to the gaggle of girls you have for your sleepover tonight ….
Cookie design copied from and inspired new designs from ameblo.jp (I tried to link to the website, but the photo did not come up. I originally saw it on Pinterest.)
Royal icing recipe from Sweet Sugar Belle: http://www.sweetsugarbelle.com/2014/02/royal-icing-for-cookie-decorating/
One year ago: painter’s palette cookies (for Peach’s eighth birthday)
Two years ago: coconut cream puff birthday (for Peach’s seventh birthday)
Three years ago: black cocoa cookie-coffee-almond ice cream sandwiches, salted pumpkin and pepita caramels, strawberry cream cheese frosting (for Peach’s sixth birthday)