Learning from Laughter: A Series on Radical Discipleship Parenting

100_2372By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

I became a mom two years ago today. I can still feel Erinn’s hand in mine as she breathed with me through each contraction and reminded me what the pain was for. After more than two days of active labor, in one final push, this beautiful child leapt out head to toe.

Almost a year earlier, as we began to try to get pregnant, we had beloved friends over for dinner who were helping us conceive, one of them asked us “Why do you want to be parents?” I remember the joy that bubbled through my body in talking about how excited we were and how much we felt the calling to nurture and love children into this world. I also remember saying “I am excited to love Erinn in new ways- to see her as a mom and to work together in all the decisions and struggles that come with parenting.”

It has been true, I have fallen so much more in love with Erinn since we became mothers together. Every day I get to see this inherent love, creativity, cleverness, and joy that comes from being in this world with Isaac. I would say that becoming a mom has been a snowball of love and learning that grows larger and larger beyond my control.

This blog has been a gift to share stories, reflect on my own life in discipleship, and learn new ways from reading each of you. It only makes sense for me to commit some time to writing about what I spend most of my time doing….hanging out with Isaac. Parenting has been a full time re-schooling for me these days. He is my teacher on a moment to moment basis forcing me to ask the hard and crucial questions like- What am I honoring today? What do I say again and again til it lives in his bones? How do I help him to name and feel his anger, his sadness, and his joy? How do we teach him to pray? Where do we put our bodies each day that instills the fight for justice? How do we raise a white man this white patriarchal world? How do we teach the importance of gratitude and a relationship to the earth? We named him Isaac in part because it meant laughter. We trusted that this journey would be one of abundant joy. And it is. So, I call these little bits of writing- Learning from Laughter. For I do. Every day.

Just like the Beloved Community, parenting is a communal process. Isaac has already been loved and touched by a thousand hands. Each action I make is informed by thousands of hands that have loved me even if just in a moment. And the decisions I make with Erinn are informed by another thousand hands holding her. We are better parents and better people when our lives are held, loved, and challenged by others. In a world where it’s scary to go into public with kids for fear of the judgments that come, it is easy to see parenting as an individual decision and not to talk about it. But I offer these words as an act of vulnerability and accountability. It is an invitation to a larger conversation. I want to hear your stories and ideas, your frustrations and hope, your experiences of exhaustion and despair, and the ordinary moments in between.

I give thanks for all the hands who have touched my life- that have read me stories, sang me songs, marched beside me on the picket line, played imaginary games with me in the woods, walked with me in the snow, hugged me, held me, given me permission to cry, sat with me in the dark moments of grief, acted with me in moments of courage, challenged my mind, taught me in the classroom or in garden, laughed with me till it hurt, baked bread with me, grappled with me in community, and who loved me from close or afar. I give thanks for you and I know that loving this beautiful child has everything to do with you.

One thought on “Learning from Laughter: A Series on Radical Discipleship Parenting

  1. Oh, dear Lydia, how blessed I was to be with you and Erinn to help catch that marvelous child on the day of his birth! And now to watch you nurture him in the context of your own growing love…one of the great gifts in my life. Isaac is fortunate to have mothers who know so much about love and faith…and who also know their limitations and vulnerabilities. Thanks for inviting us all along on the magical journey.
    Love, Joyce

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