It’s when I’m putting my son to bed at night that I feel it most acutely. Smelling his hair. Watching him breathe. It overwhelms me. There’s a name for what I’m feeling. Vulnerable.
Absolute and total vulnerability. Vulnerability that comes from a love so profound it cannot be described. I think, no one told me about this part of parenting. But then I think that even if they had I wouldn’t have understood. Heart on my sleeve isn’t the half of it.
It’s a terrifying thing, this vulnerability. To have so much of yourself wrapped up in another person. To have them walking around out there in the world every day and feel like a huge piece of your heart is out there with them. Imagining the worst. Mind running wild.
Yet, Brené Brown writes,
“We must allow ourselves to be seen. Deeply seen. And vulnerably seen. We must allow ourselves to love with our whole hearts. Even though there is no guarantee. And to practice gratitude and joy, even in those moments of fear and when we are wondering, “Can I love you this much?” because to feel vulnerable means you are alive.”
So, I must lean in to the fear. Rejoice in the wholehearted vulnerability. And I do. I really have no choice.
Because it is an awesome thing, this vulnerability. This connection. This absolute gift. Our kids deserve our best. And my best is open, loving, flawed, vulnerable.
I think maybe the vulnerability is actually the whole point. The feeling things. The loving as deeply as we can for as long as we can. Maybe some day I’ll wrap my head around that. For tonight I’ll just smell his hair, and watch him breathe, and feel. Vulnerable.
It’s funny, growing up I didn’t really move at all. I lived in the same house in a small midwestern town from age 2 to 18. But, since leaving home for college I’ve had my share of moves. Seventeen different abodes in now three states. I didn’t really mean to turn into a nomad, it just sort of happened. You get pretty good at paring down belongings and change of address notifications. Continue reading
When my son was an infant (and not the greatest sleeper), we’d rock and listen to lullabies. We listened to one CD so many times that many of the songs are seared into my brain. I remember one song in particular. “Sleep, baby, sleep. It is time to close your eyes.” I’d sing along, willing the words to come true. Continue reading
In just a few days I’ll be leaving the clinic where I’ve practiced pediatrics for the past six years. The last months have been a flurry of last visits with families, paperwork, and tying up loose ends. There have been many, many goodbyes. I’ve been deeply moved by the expressions of gratitude and affection that many families have shared with me. It seems it is always in these times of change and endings that we are most open with each other. Continue reading
I’ve been thinking a lot about parenting and self-care. Mostly about how, when things get busy, our self-care is often the first thing to go. This, despite evidence and anecdote that it really shouldn’t be. That taking care of ourselves actually makes us better parents. Continue reading
I’ve been working with the latest electronic medical record (EMR) for almost a year now. You know the one. There are many positive changes, to be sure. It has helped me more than a few times with calculating doses for kids’ medications. I can now easily check in on my patients’ progress when they are admitted to the hospital. And, of course, the notes are far more legible.
But what do the notes actually tell me? Sadly, sometimes, not much. Continue reading
Many thanks to all of you who have joined me here at My Two Hats in 2013. I continue to derive much joy from writing here and to learn so much from readers’ insights. I am ever grateful for the connections and friendships that My Two Hats has brought me.
Here’s a quick wrap-up of 2013. Continue reading