It’s such a wonder how you can be in awe of watching your children function as adults…how you find joy in carrying hopes for their future as you watch them become who they are; bumping against obstacles as they navigate their world of identity and purpose. Yet occasionally, an unexpected moment of grief arises.
I’m not talking about a bad grief. Yeah, there are challenges that send you to your knees and take your breath away. But I’m talking about a different kind of grief. Maybe I’m the only one that feels this way, but it’s a moment where you whisper, “I want my babies back.” You ponder the ways you would have consciously cherished the time when they were young, worried less about big people stuff, engaged in play more, and held your children more often.
We lament over dirty laundry and diapers, over messes and the mundane planning of meals. But when they launch out into the big world of challenges, you wish more than anything that you could hold them and keep them from the pains of life. You wish you had known more…been more aware, and more present for them as they grew up.
When our children are young, we forget how the things of life might be impacting them. We get caught up in our own stuff, leaving them wondering and trying to figure out the things around them. We do the best we know how. Even the best of parents miss the mark at times. It doesn’t make us bad or neglectful. It just makes us human. It’s telling of our lack of understanding just how quickly our children’s childhood will pass.
Childhood is to be embraced. Not endured.
Often, as I fall asleep, I think about the weights of life that my adult children may be experiencing, and I wish I could wrap my arms around them and shield them from the storms. But they grow in the storms. They learn how strong they are, and what they are capable of accomplishing and enduring. Yet, these arms sometimes long to hold my babies and do it all over again with the knowledge I have now.
If you’re raising young children, savor the moment. Talk with them. Play with them. Hug them so much more…and so much longer. It’s no small thing to be given little hearts and souls into our care. The raising of a soul is certainly the grandest job we could ever have.
Cheer them on as they pursue the things in their heart. Encourage them daily. You just never know where they’ll go and what places will be graced with their presence.
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