As the time draws nigh, glooming, a cloud, A dread beyond, of I know not what, darkens me.In case you don’t understand my ambivalence, and lest you think I’m being overly dramatic, I will explain. In the beginning, when I was young and naïve, a newly minted mom so-to-speak, I cheerfully anticipated every opportunity to meet with my children’s teachers. I still vividly recall my first Parent-Teacher night. As I approached the school, mounted the front steps and opened the industrial-strength security doors, I was happy almost to the point of giddiness. I anticipated what I was sure would be a delightful conversation. The teacher and I would review some sample work and test results, but that wouldn’t take long, and then we’d share some amusing stories all featuring my intelligent and charming son. We’d wrap things up quickly, pausing a couple moments for me to graciously accept her invitation to help host the school’s upcoming symposium on parenting. Our conference was nothing like I’d imagined it would be. Nor was the one after that, or the one after that. In fact, you could say that I have been the one being schooled all these years. What I have actually learned is not to expect anything from year to year. I was just as likely to hear praise and receive commendations as I was to meet with silent (and sometimes not so silent) condemnation and recommendations. I am now on the tail end of raising six children, and while these highs and lows have kept me alert and engaged, I feel a desire to pay it forward and share some hard-won lessons with you, possibly sparing you some humiliation:
Ring the bells that still can ring, Forget your perfect offering, There is a crack in everything, That’s how the light gets in.