Time is often punctuated with life-changing events: births, deaths, marriages, travel, school. Each of these moments stretches us and pushes us to be more than we thought we could be, in ways we had not thought possible.
Though parenting doesn’t define who I am, few other events in my life have impacted me in the same way. It is one of the few elements of my life that has an on going impact on who I am and who I continue to become. And though it began with a momentous event, the impact has been like that of water – slow and relentless – making me a stronger, more patient, more loving, more accepting, more everything – slowly and relentlessly.
My boy is 8 today. For 8 years, he’s traveled around this sun – and I have been there for all of it. I’ve bore witness to his changing body, heart, and mind; and I’ve done what I can to help steer him in the directions I have felt most important.
But if I’ve learned anything from the past 8 years, it’s that very little of his life has anything to do with me. His likes, his dislikes, his personality traits, his way of connecting with others (or with nature), his him-ness is all him. In essence, I’m just here for the ride – like watching a 4D movie. And it’s likely to be one of the greatest movies I’ve ever seen.
I cannot say where he will go, or what he will do, how he will be in the world, or what obstacles await him. I cannot bubble wrap him from the hurt of the world, and cannot ensure he will be entirely who I envision him to be. But there is one thing that I can do – and will do – for as long as there are still stars in the sky…
Like I try to tell him every day – multiple times a day – no matter what, no matter what he does, or who he becomes, or what struggles or highlights there are throughout his life, he will always find a place full of love here – with his family – with me.
My boy is 8 today, which is both momentous and mundane, for both him and me.