Wednesday, January 26, 2011
On being a parent
I didn’t know I wanted children until I was 29 years old. I had feelings of trepidation about being a parent, a good parent, and sharing life in all its majesty and sorrow with other souls who would rely on my husband and I for wisdom, love and choices. I questioned my own ability to offer sound advice when some of the best I could give was “don’t do what I did!”
Loving someone is a complicated emotion. After our first boy was born, I experienced a kind of euphoria. I completely fell in love with him and my husband again. Love is like that with ebbs and flows of feelings throughout our life. A quote from Marianne Williamson comes to mind, “Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.” I was 31 years old at the time and fully immersed in the journey of motherhood.
I remember the catch in my throat and aligning the butterflies in my stomach every time I looked at his tiny hands and feet. There is this indescribable joy of motherhood that is simply unguarded……authentic and honest…..a warming feeling like the first sunny day in spring when the first blooms offer intoxicating fragrance. My son.
I had no idea what I was supposed to do except nurture my child in a way that would allow him to satisfy his own curiosity and growth. Ok, maybe I smothered a bit…..that’s changed now…..and there was the incident of the first bath…..perhaps I should have read a few books. Parenting is an art; a kind of slow and steady dance. The only rules we gave ourselves was consistency, love, solitude when needed, debates were welcome but we had final say after the negotiations, fair play among siblings, chores for allowance and keeping bedrooms for quiet time…not punishment.
Just after turning 32 years old, our second son was born. They are 15 months apart and it has worked our magically. Our boys are friends with each other yet vastly different personalities. We are bringing up the proverbial yin and yang teenagers who respect themselves and we hope the general population.
And again, I am experiencing this intense love for my family who have guided me through my own life. Very soon the nest will be empty and with all my bravado, I harbor sadness at the impending silence. As parents, we have a duty to our children to allow them independence and opinions. I want to hold on to them for dear life, but know in my heart that their journey is just beginning. My sons. I have had immeasurable joy raising them…..and yes…..I question where the years have gone…..this…..on the eve of my 50th birthday...I have no regrets.