It’s 5:30A.M. and I’m sitting on the edge of our trampoline looking at the pre-dawn sky with my 17 year-old son, our voices mingling with that of the chattering birds. Though we were catching glimpses of a meteor shower, I knew I was catching a glimpse of something way bigger – a treasured moment with my child.
I’ve spoken before that I’m in that “empty nest” part of life. My oldest is packing to move out of my house while her sister is making plans for her own future move, and both at random drop the “m” word in conversations about their significant others. My babies are growing up, have grown up, and though it is sad to see them taking steps away from me, I observe their progress with parental pride. Marveling in confused wonder, just as when they were little, at how amazing they are.
People have often bestowed praise on me for raising such “good kids,” and I have always replied with “I didn’t do anything.” This isn’t just modesty but a statement I sincerely believe. I didn’t do anything but give them the room to be who they wanted to be and to challenge their own dreams and ambitions. Their success and failures were their own to carry with pride and to learn the lessons, though of course, I carried each one profoundly in my heart to analyze at my liberty – I am a mother after all.
You can read books, talk to friends, listen to the advice of your parents, and weigh countless unsolicited opinions, but the bottom line is, only you and your kid can determine what is right for you. It’s not a black and white world, and parenting does not stand outside of that fact. Whether your child is 4 months or 4 score, you wont have a clue what you’re doing. There will be mistakes, loads of them, be gentle with yourself. Be gentle with your child, whatever age, allowing room for both of you to grow and learn.
Just like the streaking lights of a meteor shower, our time with our kids is fleeting, brightening our little corner of the world for a brief moment before spreading out into the universe.
One of my favorite memories with my kids was their 3A.M. feedings when they were infants. As sleepy as I was, cradling that baby in my arms, just the two of us in the quiet of a new day, all the world forgotten, and something I knew I wanted to treasure forever. In those wee hours of the morning, I was fully present, no thought of adult burdens and schedules weighing me down and capturing my mind, it was so pure and intimate. I’m glad I was given that moment again with my baby boy this morning, even if he is now too big to hold on my lap, for I don’t know how many more opportunities I will have like that.
Though this pandemic has created a lot of emotion, stress, and insecurity, it has provided a wonderful opportunity for family. Without the strain of hour by hour schedules we can now have time to color with our kids, build a Lego castle, have a tea party, or watch a meteor shower. Work will come and go with few remembering your name, but your kids…your family…they will never forget you. Make their memories of home, of you, something worth sharing, something that will make them smile and laugh long after you have departed this world.
Make THIS moment precious.