I am “packing” right now and getting ready to head to the Cape for a few days.

“Packing” in this case means “throw a sweater and some books in the trunk,” because LisSurMer is a place to be casual, comfortable and private.

Every walk I took this week, I had to keep reminding myself to ENJOY THE SPRINGTIME. I live in a beautiful New England town of antique houses, rolling hills, white churches and nature preserves. Through my window as I write this, I see a blaze of yellow forsythia rising behind the red barn.

I already live in a beautiful, serene place…and yet I am struggling right now to appreciate it!

So what does this have to do with parenting?

Well, here’s a partial list of the issues I’ve tried to help families face this week:

  • Our son’s SAT scores are lower than we hoped. What will this do to his college dreams?
  • The school is recommending special ed placement for our daughter; is this the right thing?
  • I think my son may have Asperger’s.
  • Our daughter got accepted at her first-choice college, but we can’t afford to send her.
  • We’re losing our home and our marriage is falling apart under the stress. We’re both yelling at the kids too much and we’re afraid it is harming them.

Parenting is HARD, and parents struggle with their private shame and fear. Is it this hard for everyone? Or is my family especially flawed and screwed up?

One mom bemoaned that her child’s friends are all honors students and that he is the only one in the group who needs academic support services.  Why?

This boy happens to be one of my favorite students, and I easily rattled off all the things I truly love about this kid. Like his curiosity, and his optimism, and his amazing work ethic. His politeness and maturity and kindness. His creativity and wit and humor. And all his intellectual strengths, which I could see developing, albeit unevenly.

You have such a great kid, I said. I hope you enjoy the hell out of him.

It’s human nature to lose perspective and lose sight of the positives as we become overly consumed in the day-to-day pressures and comparisons between ourselves and others.

So here are a few ideas I’d like to pass along to parents:

  • Now is not forever.
  • The good qualities and experiences you’re not fully appreciating now, can be enjoyed later. That’s what memories are for.
  • Many domestic issues (messy rooms, loud music, etc) never get solved. You survive them until your child moves out.
  • The big problems don’t get fixed, they get managed.
  • Other people are suffering, too. You just don’t see it.

I am now off for the Cape, with my camera. And en route I’m planning to stop and take pictures of an amazing field of daffodils, right down the street here. Every year I say I’m going to do this…

[photo taken in my neighborhood last spring. Amazing that I need a break from this, eh?]