When your ship comes in, whom will you invite aboard? I think about this sometimes, especially in the context of having children, and especially recently, after some unpleasant family drama. It's so easy to take credit for the achievements as though your expert puppeteering alone enabled your child to share a toy in that moment (when others are watching) or take early first steps. Of course, when the opposite happens and a fit is pitched, your baby is "slow" to talk, it's out of our hands: just their nature, despite our best efforts. The latter being truer, of course, in both cases. There's nothing wrong with pride, but when it comes at opportune times rather than all the times, well... It's probably not worth much.
And who do I invite aboard my ships, or even the dinghies, I've been awaiting? The people who stand on the pier next to me, looking at the horizon, hopefully. The ones who jump up and down, yelling, "There! There it is!" only to watch a cruise liner pass us by. The ones who silently slip their arm through the crook of mine and wait. The ones who tell me I won't be standing there forever; who tell me it'll be worth it when it feels like I'm wasting my time.
I want to be that person for my kids. You know who I don't want to be? The one telling them they're foolish for believing in themselves, for taking risks and hoping for the best. I want them to ask for help when they need it, knowing I'll give what I can in time, resources and love without strings attached, without humiliating them or lecturing them with unsolicited advice. Moreover, I hope I'll notice their need before they have to ask, and offer freely what I have. I want to be standing with them on the bows of their ships, popping champagne and telling them I always knew it would work out. Whether it's working through the generalities of being two and a half or the difficulty of finding a career, I want to do that because it's what I signed up for.
Sometimes the naysayers -- the ones who treat you like panhandlers on that often embarrassing, often thankless, occasionally fun pier -- are a sneaky blessing. It's helpful, you know, to have examples of what not to do. That doesn't make them likable. And as our modest boat pulls away from its mooring, I am waving that hanky like a motherfucker, because peace out, negative Nancies.