As time marches on things change. Sometimes, the changes occur as a force of nature, unexpected and unwanted. Sometimes we facilitate the change between hard work and desire. Most often it’s a combination of the two.
Since January 1st, 2017, when I brought the New Year in with a pop (in my lower back) the changes have hit me like crashing waves. I lost the ability to move and do freely, causing me to learn to ask for help. I lost the job I loved, yes I was overworked and underpaid but caring for others gave meaning to my life. My doctor moved away, she was more than a doctor, a friend. The man I love said he wanted to spend his life with me as partners and then became an athiest and dumped me.
Most recently, I’ve had to move away from the family I’ve cared for and loved for the past 4 yrs. I’d been with them since the boy was 4 and the girl was 5. Half his life I had fed, cleaned up after, help with homework, shopped for, kissed goodnight… and so much more. Friday I moved out of their home.
Today I’m thinking about and missing the kids. I knew they weren’t around before but today I would have fed them and played while their dad worked, it’s a holiday afterall. At the very least have heard them running and yelling above me. I’ve been imagining what time they showed up and what they chose to do. It’s not a very pleasant day so they might forgo friends in the back yard and play Xbox and draw.
Suddenly I realize, soon I won’t know be able to guess what they are doing. As time passes they grow and change and I won’t be watching or a part of those little moments.
I feel the distance between myself and the kids I love grow like river rapids. And I feel melancholy.
Not to long ago I read an article by John Pavlovitz, about stopping everything to be with the kids everytime they ask. It was a warm and fuzzy article, full of beautiful notions. But I think he missed the big picture. Those special moments aren’t when you get to know your child, it’s in those everyday up and down moments.
He is so right about time marching on and children changing quickly. That everyday and every moment is important.
Pavlovitz is also right, if you miss all those moments you never get them back. But he’s wrong you don’t have to give into every whim or make desperate displays of dance parties. You just need to be present, noticing and sharing the natural moments as they grow. Listen as they talk to eachother, watch them play with friends, know about the TV shows they watch: and talk about what you saw, play the video games with them, understand why they are sad, scared, excited, talk about emotions. Just be a part of their life, knowing who they are, what they like, what makes them laugh or cry. It doesn’t mean you are the one responsible for all their emotions, sometimes you sit back and let them feel and figure it out, internally. But you know what’s going on.
These aren’t dance party moments. Dance party moments are always fun, hyped up special times, not a substaining relationship. They are great fun. I’ve shared them with the kids, my favorite dance party moment was feeding the birds at the zoo. Perfect memory, but I’ll still get to have those, they were come visit and we’ll have days of dance party moments. But no longer will I truly know them. I won’t have intimate knowledge of their inner workings, which is discovered by being present, saying no and yes, watching, listening, communicating, pushing them to grow and witnessing joy, disappointment, boredom, and the full emotional spectrum.
That’s is what I am going to miss, just being present in the every day ups and downs.