I want you to know that I’m cracked too

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

– Leonard Cohen  “Anthem”

How did you come to parenthood? Were you shiny and new? Were you full of hope and promise? How long did that last until you felt yourself cracking under the pressure?

 

Perhaps you entered it already fully aware of your own brokenness.

Either way, we all get there. We all find ourselves cracking in the thick of parenthood.

I want you to know that I’m cracked too. I want you to know that the cracks have a bright side. I know that sometimes they hurt when they come. I know that they mess up that pretty shine you had going on.

I also know that there is release in the cracking. And that of course, that’s how the light gets in. That’s how our friends get in, that’s how our kids get in – through the cracks in our plans and our armor. We want to be strong and able. We want to be well prepared and wise. We want to offer our best to these little loves that we brought into this world and into our homes. Too often though, our best intentions fail us as we find that our focus has shifted off of connecting to and providing for our loved ones and has shifted to something we can check off a list or can achieve.

But the cracks can bring us back to the basics. They are wake up calls to what’s not working and what needs to change. They can save us from wasting time on attitudes and actions that don’t foster growth or goodness in our homes or our lives. So, they are gifts. All the cracks are gifts. The more cracked you are, the more gifts you have been given.

light

___

One day, I picked my daughter up after school and she asked if we could take the back roads home. Her tense mood was palpable. I’m not sure what it was that contributed to the mood, but I knew why she asked to take the back roads.

I turned the radio up and took a right on the next side road that we came to. As we wound our way past fields and farms, I thought about my cracks. I thought about how sometimes the work day was so hard and the idea of parenting was so intense that I would pick her up after work and just turn the radio up and drive until the work day had melted away and I had mustered the courage and grace I would need to mother.

This summer, when I was out of work and the afternoons got long and cranky, I would load both kids up and just drive until we were ready to go back home.

It’s not the most economical or productive way to spend time or de-stress, but hey, I’m a little cracked, and this works for me. I guess it works for my daughter too.

So my cracks give way to light. Enough light for my little girl to navigate her cracks too. Gifts, these cracks are gifts.

___

Even so, I find myself mourning my cracks that outline the mistakes I’ve made as a mother. The times I’ve yelled instead of guided. The times I’ve zoned out instead of tuned in when I really needed to tune in. The times I’ve felt unreasonably stressed and angry and bitter because it’s just not working out like I wanted or planned. It’s all just so ugly and raw when all I want to be is beautiful and well-adjusted and maybe even a little perfect. You know? Of course you know. There is a crack in everything, isn’t there? Even the good and beautiful things crack to let the light in.

And so, my mourning is wrapped up in gratitude. I’m pretty cracked, and I’m pretty glad. Aren’t you?

 

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Rebecca Chasteen

Rebecca Chasteen

Becca Chasteen is a writer, coffee lover, substitute teacher, and mental health professional. She lives with her husband and two children in a small town on the outskirts of Charlotte.