Embracing Temporary Moments
I celebrated both my babies' birthdays in this last month. Planning both their parties, hopefully creating magical memories for all of us, knowing that another year has passed, it’s bittersweet for me. I watch each of my babies growing, taking the next steps in their natural development, and I’m reminded of how temporary my job is.
My little man not only took his first independent steps in May but decided with determination you could see in his little face that he went from tentative first steps to full-on motoring, within a couple of days. I’m so proud of him. His desire to explore. His determination to do. But literally only days earlier he was clinging to momma. And just today he was making a break for it at the doctor’s office to avoid his shots, running from momma. Again, I’m reminded of how temporary my job is.
My mother once told me mothering is the hardest job there is because we are hardwired to cling to our babies, to protect, to nurture, to bring them close, yet our job as parents is to help them grow up to fly. That each day is a constant balance of holding on while letting go. My father would say his job was to raise me to be an independent adult. Both stuck. And both were right. The role of an active parent is temporary. With each passing milestone, my job shifts and morphs to one less hands-on, less bringing them close and more about supporting them as they try to fly.
I know this is the natural order of things, this shifting of complete and utter dependence of a newborn baby too, as in the case of my bonus son, an independent thriving adult, who thankfully still comes to mom and dad for advice, chats, and to do life together. It’s normal. It’s what is supposed to happen per the grand design. As proud and excited as I am for each one of my babies, there is a part of me that is so sad for the phase I’m losing. The word mourning seems morbid but there is some truth in it too, especially when they are big milestones, like first birthdays. Because with each new milestone comes saying goodbye to a phase, a moment in time, we will never get back, and I am again reminded that my job is temporary. That my role as a parent is irrevocably changed with each one.
For me, as I’m now taking these steps with my baby boy, knowing these are my true last milestones of first steps, first words, last baby, last snuggles, last sleeping on my chest, the lesson has been about a balance of emotions. About embracing that while yes my job is temporary, that yes he will inevitably take these natural steps of independence, that while I’m feeling proud, it’s okay for me to also feel sad. To embrace moments more, fully absorb what each one brings me, loving them for all the feels the moment brings but accepting that it is just that, a moment.
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