My kids are grown. All grown up, I mean. I don't think there is any one thing more eye opening for a parent, than that. Because my husband and I waited SO long to be parents (11 years), we KNEW what we wanted and we knew if it was meant to be, it would happen. After two miscarriages, all the sad feelings have been dealt with years ago, for me personally. However my dreams came true when we were blessed enough to adopt our two oldest. I think, because of the threat of never experiencing parenthood, and the amount of time we waited to do so, both of us knew that if a child ever became ours, we would cherish every single day. Coming from a large family, we knew the perils of taking time for granted when it came to our nieces and nephews, and we gaged the kind of parenting we wanting to embrace, by their mistakes, good deeds, and what we would never do if it were our child.
Life in the first 5 years after becoming parents to two, were THE most magical and wonderful moments of my life and I think I can safely state, David's as well. I used to rock my oldest to sleep every single night or before nap times, and kiss his sweet cheeks over and over, whispering my love.. It never spoiled him. I did the same when my daughter arrived, too.
I can still remember closing my eyes and truly cherishing the moments, not just those, but all of them we spent together. All the little intimacies formed by ER trips in the middle of the night, the fears of storms, being there when a bad dream occurred, all of the kind of moments only parents can experience with their child, and it bonds you together.
David would call several times throughout the day to see how they were doing. And saying hello to them when he got home from work, was the first thing he did. Day in, day out, for 5 years. Those 2 kiddies could not of had a better daddy, than he was. We both poured years of going without, into our gratitude and appreciation for having them. I don't mean to imply we showered them with toys and this and that, I am talking about TIME.
Time spent listening, playing with, and truly enjoying them. But always in the back of my mind during those years, was the thought that they would grow up and one day, every thing would change. All I can say tonight is that it all went by too fast. It felt good to be needed when they were young, and to do things our way, no matter what. Nothing was cozier than to get in bed at night knowing they were safely tucked in, happy, and content, or having family movie nights, looking forward to waking up to them the next morning. We would stand over them and watch them sleep, many a time. We'd kiss their sweet cheeks as they slept, on top of all the kisses they received during the day. Each day, I was constantly amazed at how wonderful it was to "grow my kids." I can definitely say that once the threat of having to go without, hits you... it makes you appreciate what you DO get, even more. We were so determined to treat them differently than our own parents treated us, because it wasn't good. And we were doing it.
The following are a few of my favorite photos of them during those young years. They bring tears to my eyes every time I look at them. What can I say, they were and still are the joy of my life.-
(Nicholas, 13 months old)
(Emily, nearly 2 years old)
I was blessed with 4 kids in total, the last two I gave birth to. But for the purpose of this post not turning into a novel, I have chosen to reflect on the two that had both parents and knew what that entailed. The oldest two and younger two's experiences differ for that reason.
Back to the present, I repeat, my kids are all grown up. Long gone are the little ways in which they needed me, clung to me, depended on me for everything. The smiles, the tears, the comforting of and making them feel safe, & hearing their laughter. Nothing was more satisfying than to know I made a difference in their every day lives, as they did in mine.
But as life goes, all good things eventually come to an end. I am still their mother and always will be, but they don't need me or want my advice the way they used to. It was very difficult for me to let go of each one as they came of age. I realized that I did what I could in the developmental years, in the ways of teaching them good morel ethics and values. But no matter how much that is true, they will still turn out to be independent adults with their own ways of doing things, their own opinions, and all I can do is hope and pray when it boils down to the nitty gritty, their early instilled values will guide them. To remember that their basic foundation was the basis for who they turn out to be, gives me comfort that they will be alright.
Although they may occasionally need me for different things, and occasionally seek my opinion or advice, they don't always take it and I have to remember I didn't fail them, they have just grown up to be their own person with their own ideas and wants and needs. Of course, I have always looked back in retrospect and harshly scrutinized my parenting now that I know more and have more wisdom & life experience. But parents usually do what they think is right and best at the time, it doesn't have to mean it was wrong.
And even if I could go back and do it differently, it would somehow change who they have become, either because of my decisions or in spite of my decisions. They just wouldn't be who they are today. I am so proud of each one of them, because they have each had their struggles as everyone does, but they some how find the strength to get through them, as I have.
"I did good, Charlie Brown..."
Unfortunately, our youngest two boys never knew or experienced "life with father". They missed out on what their older siblings received within our love as a couple.. It makes me very sad, always has, but then again if their dad had changed so much by the time they came around, maybe it's all for the best as they would have only gotten hurt in the de-fragmentation of our marriage. I must hold on to "everything happens for a reason, and good can come out of anything, if you look for it."
Time goes by SO fast, it's gone in the blink of an eye. Cherish the moments you have today, because those little moments will soon add up to a lifetime.