In the in between

Dear Yai Yai,

You are always in an in between. There is what you were, and what you are going to become, and the now that is shaped by and shaping those.   We all live in the in between, but at the age of four the recent past and near future are so fluid and so open that the now seems like a constant adventure. The past may seem like a solid, but because you are learning so much about the world at every turn, it reforms itself, gives new meaning to past events that you were too young to process.

I try to remember that what we do now is shaping who you will be, even if it has no impact in the moment. Just because you do not understand does not mean that you will never understand. The line between treating you like someone who is incapable of independent thought (not true) and treating you like a mini adult (also not true) is blurry. This is something I did not understand about parenting before I was in the midst of it; we spend most of our time in an unfocused free fall, trying to get things right, failing, and trying again.

Right now you listen to me. Not about day-to-day activities, no, you still walk around like you have lost the ability to understand language when I ask you to put on your shoes. But the big stuff. I have all the answers, when I have answers at all. There is a lot of pressure in that, to get it right, to help you learn to navigate a world that is rarely clear and not always pleasant. My job is not to make the world a pleasant place for you, but to help you develop the skills you need to deal with what life throws your way. So maybe my mistakes, my shortcomings, are actually a lesson. You will make mistakes. You will learn, you will grow, and you will be a better person for them. Mistakes form your past and present as much as the successes. It is how you use those missteps that really matters.

The future and the past are both wide open.
The future and the past are both wide open.

I give you information in biased ways. People are innately biased. I want you to be  the person I want you to be. But I get it. I get that not only is it unattainable, but also undesirable. You are going to grow up in a world that I cannot yet imagine. And you’re going to do it your way.



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