Friday, August 24, 2007
Out of the Mouths of Babes...
Taken at Horizon Eyecare while I was trying to find new glasses frames. I turned around and was greeted by this image. My handsome son was pretending to be Steve Urkel from "Family Matters." We all laughed so loudly that I was afraid we were going to be asked to exit the premises.
On the way to school this morning, Daniel said, "Mom, it has been the wierdest mix of emotions this week: some good, some bad, and some wierd."
Stunned by his eloquence and wisdom, I said nothing. I quickly and quietly pulled a notepad from the pocket on the driver's door, grabbed a pen, and wrote those words down. Words that perfectly describe the emotions I have experienced this week.
Some good: they are growing up. Sprouting wings. Moving on in their lives.
Some bad: they are growing up. Sprouting wings. Moving on in their lives.
Some wierd: they are growing up. Sprouting wings. Moving on in their lives.
I am doing all of the above - and all the opposite things as well.
I have spent a lot of time this week looking back - wishing they would "grow down" --> go back to nursing and diapers and toddling around the house, so that I could hold them in my arms again, rock them to sleep in the middle of the night, and start this mothering journey afresh, knowing everything I know now.
I have spent a lot of time this week wishing I could "grow down" too: go back to the days when I didn't have to wonder or worry about where anyone else was, where I didn't know about war, terrorism, cancer, drought, recalled toys, and lost jobs. Wishing I could go back to the days that my children are living right now: where life's only concerns are centered on homework assignments, which snack to each after school, and whether or not to watch the Disney channel or Little League baseball.
I have spent a lot of time this week wanting to clip their wings, to keep them under my wings, and to convince them that flying is really a rather dangerous proposition. But even as those words have floated through my mind and fluttered on my tongue, I know how wrong they are. I am reminded of a quote I found on Tuesday.
Written by Leonardo DaVinci, it goes like this:
Once you have tasted flight,
you will forever walk the earth
with your eyes turned skyward,
for there you have been,
and there you will always long to return.
I have tasted flight. Since my first day at college, my first flight overseas, and my first solo journey to Italy, I have longed to return. I have dipped my finger into the sweet nectar of both physical and intellectual travel and touched my children's hungry lips. How can I be surprised that they long to get out and eat life in huge bites? Was that the point of having them, loving them, and homeschooling them all these years, Gail, if not to let them go out and see it all for themselves? Why would I want to deny them the thrill of seeing the world, of making friends everywhere they go, and of doing what Camus described as "living life to the point of tears" - the thrill that I so thoroughly enjoy?
During these past few years, months, and weeks, I have slowly begun to spread my wings to let them go explore this wonder-filled, dangerous, thrilling, disappointing, unimaginably glorious world. They have stumbled, fallen, gotten back up, recovered, and gone on more and more adventures without me. Almost imperceptibly to them, but glaringly to me, they have sprouted wings - even this very week.
As they begin to move on in their lives, I recognize that part of my role as their mother is to stay right here, where they can find me easily and quickly. To be their "home base" as they play "tag" with life. To listen carefully when they speak (and take copious notes). To open my lap and invite them to climb in - even as they grow tall and broad-shouldered. When they wake up every morning, even if my body isn't here at home (as it won't be tomorrow morning - Ballantyne Resort, here I come!), I hope that they will always sense the presence of my love and my support everywhere they turn.
Out of the mouth of my handsome young babe came simple words of wisdom and truth this morning. When I recovered from the initial shock of his statement, I told him that I agreed with him: this has been a week of emotional roller-coaster riding for me as well. And then I said that he should hold onto that thought because all year long and all life long, he will notice these wierd mixes of emotions. Some will be good, some bad, some wierd, but all of them are worthy of contemplation, conversation, and prayers of thanksgiving.
Have a great day at school, my boy. Along with dozens of other moms lined up and looking for their loved ones, I will be waiting for you in the carpool lane in just a little while. I'll be the one with tears rolling down my cheeks.