Updated: Sep 8, 2020
God gave me exactly three days to feel smug brilliance about the creation of those beautiful Etsy-reject Boss cards before He popped a hole in my ego-balloon. He honestly had the gall to ask me, straight out, who held the other end of my Boss card? As in, Who was the Boss of Me? What was I not in charge of and Who was the Boss that Was in Charge of It? Three. Days. And of course I knew very well what He was after.
I always play a little game with kids when introducing the cards and concept of Boss cards (a.k.a boundaries) by asking simple questions like, “Who is the boss of your shoes, hair, my shirt, my couch, mommy’s watch?” And we have great fun celebrating their success at understanding basic physical boundaries. “Who is the boss of wanting ice cream for breakfast?” “But who is the boss of deciding if you can have ice cream for breakfast?” So that conveys the idea of boundaries around my wants versus the limits of rules, laws, etc. Then the last one that I always tease as the hardest one of all, “Who is the boss of the weather?” They always look so delighted with themselves when they declare their higher power. And, it’s sort of true. I mean, science would argue it has more to do with climate blah blah blah and I sure hope it’s not truly our higher power or all of us in Texas are being punished for having done something just unforgivable at some point. But the general lesson here is that there is a realm at which we are not in control. Where I cannot effect the outcome of something and I have to have something, somewhere, bigger than me, bigger than my mom and dad, to rely on to be in charge. As a parent this area is with your children, which may be the scariest area to not be in charge.
And that was what my higher power was after that day with me. A gentle reminder (no this was not the first time we had this conversation of sorts and I dare say it will not be the last) that I needed to sit down and write out a Boss card of what I was and was not in charge of when it came to my children and what I was going to have to let Him be the Boss of for them. That list included: their grades, foods they will/won’t eat, class/degree choices, where they chose to work, whom they chose to have as friends, clothes they like, whom they chose to date, cars they chose to buy, what they want out of life, how they feel about each other, how they feel about me, where they end up living, whether or not they chose to go to church as adults, how they spend their money.. and the list goes on and on. I get to be the boss of providing the opportunities, the teaching, the examples, the resources, the protection as best I can and the world will let me, the love that is boundless, but I do not get to be the boss of what they do with it. Just as my perfect higher power parent has done for me. It’s a tough concept to live each day. Much easier in theory than in practice. Requires a very strong, full support system. A sturdy set of Boss cards. They’re laminated! And a higher power, somewhere, somehow, that you believe will co-parent with you, does love your kids more than you ever could, and maybe, just maybe, controls the weather and will eventually let us long suffering Texans off the hook.
The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them. -Thomas Merton