Being a Parent...
Being a parent is a spectator sport. And it isn't for the weak of heart or the faint of spirit. This past month has really brought that home for me. For nine months you carry them beneath your heart, you protect them and pray for them. You have hopes and dreams, you are willing to sacrifice everything for that tiny little person.
Then one day they come kicking and screaming into the world. Faces red with rage, arms flailing letting you know they are displeased with the shocking change in their lives. In utter awe you stare down at that precious little angel you are holding in your arms tears streaming down your face and at no point do you realize the complete profound change that just happened to you.
Slowly over the years, as you help them grow it starts to seem real. Slowly you know... you know that you are just helping to shape that beautiful person. Helping them become who they have always been meant to be. And that is about the time you start fighting the clock to stop moving...
You invest your heart, you put yourself behind their needs, wants and desires. You laugh at their exploits, find joy in their laughter and your heart grows to sizes you didn't know possible as you marvel at their successes and weep at their failures.
Heaven help the person or object that scorns or hurts your child, causing them tears is unforgivable. You will pray for strength, scream at God, turn away and turn back.
As your baby becomes an adult and you become just that hovering shadow, it changes and becomes harder yet again. You stay always there in the background should they need you, knowing in your heart that you have done your absolute best and they are good strong adults. Praying that when their worlds turn dark and scary they will remember that you have always been there, you will always be there and that you would give your own life to save theirs.
With my kids I am now at that latter stage. They are both adults, living their own lives, facing their own demons and enjoying their own successes. Communication ebbs and flows. I am living my own life, they are living theirs. I always told myself that I was raising them to let them go... on the backside of that lofty goal... dang it's hard!
Moving onto the future, as both of them are doing, I find myself feeling helpless and losing sleep. I wish that I still had that mommy super power - you know the one that lets you sweep in with a kiss, hug and maybe even a cookie and make things right again in their worlds. I don't have it anymore, I have gramma super powers now, but those seem to only work on the young... the parent is immune.
Words shouted in anger and stressful moments are often left lingering. Providing ample food to feed the fear monster. And all you can do is wait. Parenting is definitely a spectator sport, and the older they get the harder it is. They often get so wrapped up in chasing their lives and dreams, fighting their own fights and dealing with their own demons that they forget the ones on the sidelines that are always and forever their own cheer leading pit crew. The ones that no matter what will drop everything at any time to swoop in a once again be a super hero for that little angel. That beautiful adult that is forever your precious baby.
As both my children tackle these next phases in their lives, I only have to close my eyes to see them on the day they entered the world. I wish I could make their worlds perfect, I know I can't. I wish that I had band aids big enough to cover the scrapes and cuts life is going to give them, I know I don't. Instead I will pray that each of them knows how deeply I love them, and that I am always there in their corner fighting alongside them. That they both know despite my flaws and failings, they will always have a safe zone in my arms. And that I am cheering them on the best that I can. And that I am the proudest parent in the world!
No, parenting is definitely not a spectator sport. Looking back, it is a brutal contact sport, that is played in the deepest regions of a parents heart.
p.s. I get it Mom and Dad... love you!