Thursday, June 14, 2007

Children leave home, but not your heart.

On Sunday, June 10, we had a family get together. It's not often that all three kids are here at the same time. Days like these are what I think of as "touchstone" days. It's when you have a safe harbor together, if only for a little while, and you can use the people around you as a basis for comparison; a reference point in your life: This is where I went when I left behind my childhood, my adolescence, my teen years. These were my productions; my unique contributions to the world. These children helped me learn more about the depth of love and the width of sorrow than I ever could have learned alone. When we are together I rejoice in our compatibility and the love we share.
Touchstones set the measure for all subsequent work.
Will I ever do anything more important than the work I did raising children? And did I do as good a job as possible? You would think so if you met my kids ... she said modestly. But of course, like everyone, I made mistakes - big and small.
This month in my altered book/journal my goal was to remember more about the years I was a mother, since all of that happened, really, to another person.
I would do it again if I could. I once heard my sister say that, and my mother, and I wondered at their sanity. Now I know they already knew the secret: Children leave home but not your heart - and certainly not your arms. Our wish to hold them again and smell them, like any mother animal does - our desire to experience the joy and have a chance to correct perceived mistakes - all of that pulls at us. Part of that, of course, may be the desire to be young again and delay our life's mad dash to the finish line.
My kids are accustomed to my "unusual" ideas - like having them sit in my lap for a picture. If you have small children listen to those elderly know-it-alls around you and believe them: Enjoy them while they're young, for the time goes by so fast.
Decide what your own touchstones are and pay attention to them.
(Scroll down for a larger-sized picture of the lap-full of kids.)


thebiologyguy said...

So many different thoughts and emotions flew through my mind as I read what you had to say...
I especially liked your comment about some of these experiences happening, essentially, to a different person.
Sometimes I feel that about my own childhood experiences, especially at moments when I am in a area where they happened. I was recently at Cannon Beach, and as I visited or passed by the places where so many of the happy childhood memories I have were made, it is as if it was another person. So much has happened since then, and my perspective on life, on living has changed so much. I am aware of so many more things, and their impact on the so many other things that have happened, are happening to me now. Simplicity has passed, but in many ways my life is so much the richer for its complexities.
And I too question how good a job I have done parenting, and being someone's kid, even now...
But at the same time I seem to complicate things that still should be simple. Things like letting the people I love know that I do.
I love you mom, and I'm proud to be your boy.

John said...

Just a comment to thebiologyguy: Use your childhood memories and experiences as your “compass” to help guide you through this journey, we call life. If you’ve got a good compass, it will keep you on track and you won’t get lost. Having said that; Some people need to recalibrate their compass, while others need to buy a new one!