“Mom, what does a parent call their child when the kid grows up?”
“But say the kid is grown up, not a child anymore?”
“Our children grow up and become adults, and yet our children will always be our children. Forever.”
“I like that.”
In our quiet moments I grab my youngest and cuddle him like I did when he was small as he squirms and squeals for me to let him go. While I shower him with loud smacking kisses on the top of his head he half laughs/ half screams for immediate release. Where did the time go? How did my plump little tot become even more willful and remarkably strong? My baby.
Looking back this has been the wildest and most rewarding challenge of my life – parenting. Having never thought I’d have the opportunity to become a parent, I’m beyond honored for each experience, and the fact that I’ve been blessed with these two amazing little people I get to call my children. How did I ever get so lucky?
As I sit here in the cafe exploring my wonderment and gratitude a child yanks at a parent’s hand as they walk by which evokes a jerking response from the parent lifting the child off their feet. Both faces resemble each other, a look of disgust mixed with tardiness, like they want to be somewhere else, and quick.
The small child’s wild eyes meet mine and I knowingly smile. I was that caged animal, led along the path of what was expected of me, what was “right”. Living in a constant state of panic was just what I did consuming adrenaline for all three square meals and politely thanking my parents for each bite.
Long after my father passed away, I started to explore why I was still so nervous. It was as if he was still standing beside me judging every move, every thought, and he did not approve. Apparently old habits die hard when they are engrained in you, especially as a child. I did what I needed to do: explore, rebel, deny, medicate, forget, blame, reason, starve, react and then I began to cope with what I had and who I’d become.
I am my father’s child, forever. But I don’t have to let my old programming set up shop in my brain. Not now. Not when so many good things were happening and I’ve come so far. I had to evict these old tapes telling me what I should do and who I should become. I was doing just fine for myself.
During this slow process of revising my own internal dialogue I was fortunate enough to have children and as they grew their questions begged me to define my true thoughts about the world and dismiss the script of my past, tearing pages out and redacting the parts not meant for young eyes. I could begin again. I could make it different. I could love more than I thought was possible. And I did.
Each day is a second chance. Another opportunity to be who you are and live in your truth. Take it. Love it. Live it.