My son turned 27 not too long ago. I’m still not quite sure how that happened, since it still feels as if I was burping him just a couple of weeks ago. How can he possibly be so grown up already?
When I look into the face of this tall and handsome young man now, I sometimes see an overlay of the infant/toddler/pre-schooler/kindergartner he once was, not so long ago. As much as I admire the man he’s become, I often miss the child he was, more than words can tell. Long ago I remember reading that having a baby was like giving permission to your heart to leave your chest and walk around in the world. Yes. Being a parent makes you that vulnerable and that hopeful and that brave.
I remember my own parents telling me that the greatest gift a parent could bestow was to equip their offspring with enough tools to be successful on their own, so that when the baby bird was either pushed or jumped from the nest, it could fly all by itself. I get that. I’m thrilled that he’s soaring so successfully on his own. But I miss the high level of involvement that was part of his younger years all the same.
When he was little, and so shy that he usually peeked out at the world while hanging onto my leg, I didn’t really believe it when people told me that childhood goes quickly and that I should enjoy every moment. I’ve since concluded that the days with a little one may be interminable, sometimes, but the years do fly by.
If you’re lucky enough to still have the care and keeping of a young one in your home, let me offer you the same advice Sara Ban Breathnach (in our video section) and other teachers emphasize, in the hope that you’ll be even more attentive than I was. Treasure those moments. Savor them. Laugh and enjoy them. The time will come when your child is off and away, carving out his or her own life, and you’ll be so glad to have that album of moments—the ordinary, everyday ones along with the special ones—right there and available in your heart and your head, to thumb through and treasure once again.
In the meantime, if you need a baby-sitter you know where to find me.