I see many things on a frighteningly regular basis which confirm to me that Raphael is really going to be fine. It’s kind of like watching the Jeremy Kyle show and realising that if the “I’m denying paternity because that child is ginger” guy can have a kid, or “who’s the father of your baby, me or my dad?” couple can bring a living being into the world.. we really are in a great place to have a son, even without 2 full incomes and a 3 bedroom house of our own.
But it’s still scary. I look at this little boy, barely old enough to understand what I’m saying, and I wonder which decisions I make are going to come back to haunt him one day. With the best intentions in the world, people make mistakes. Where we live, what schools he goes to, what he eats, the amount of freedom he gets… All these things can have a major effect on not only his childhood, but what kind of a man (!) he grows into.
Some things are obvious. I know people who have seen babies drinking coke (not even diet!) out of a baby bottle, I’ve seen a mother threaten her kid with being put in a public dustbin, (and she used the word “again”) if he didnt stop talking, I’ve seen a mother leave her 3 kids in the car with the windows wide open while she went to sainsbury’s for over an hour.
And less obvious. I’ve seen smacking in public and private, I’ve seen berating for squabbles between siblings with questionable blame, I’ve seen anger over messes and tiredness and bad days which went on too long. We’ve all seen blame on both sides.
I think the most worrying thing is, we can spend a lifetime bringing up our kids, or being brought up ourselves, only to turn around decades later and lay blame on ourselves or our parents for something we might or might not have done differently had it been our own choice or had our situation been different.
Or… we can untie ourselves from the knots of guilt and anger which manage to be so comforting and debilitating simulataneously, and say, “We did our best.”
Sorted. Now all I have to do is continue to do my best, 24/7.. Easy right?