there are moments when
he only sees one person
and i’m glad it’s you
Creating another life, being a parent, changed my life in so many ways, and it’s taught me just how strong I am. There are so many moments that can test you, but the ones presented to me by parenting are far and away the most intense ones I’ve ever experienced.
I have always considered myself a strong person, but there is nothing in my life that challenges my personal and emotional limits as much as being a mother. There is this other person in the world who would not be here were it not for my actions. His personality, experiences, well being and future life depend on me – on the choices I make every day of my own life. Am I capable of being this dedicated, this trustworthy, this responsible… this selfless?
You’re damn right I am. Being a parent has shown me that I’m far stronger and more resilient than I ever thought I was before – every time I look into my son’s eyes, I know it, without question. I am capable of anything for him – he is the most simultaneously frustrating and fabulous gift I’ve ever received.
I’d die for him, but what’s more important is this: I’d give all the moments of my long life to him, too.
I took this video of Braden over 5 years ago – he was less than 2 years old. I am so glad I have taken so many photos and videos of him – this is like pure gold for me to find again later.
And frankly, I’m pretty sure that if you watch it, it’ll make your day just a little bit better. Make sure you have the sound on!
Braden approached me about something while I was working recently. I answered him and then took a look at him. He was fine but his demeanor was just a little on the down side. So I asked him to give me his hand.
I held it and told him to show me the palm straight up. He did. I inspected it carefully as he watched.
Braden, with interest: “What?”
Me: “Something is missing.”
Braden: “Missing? Can I look?”
He looked, appeared puzzled, and glanced at me, turning his palm back my way.
Me: “Yes, something is definitely missing.”
Braden: “But WHAT?”
I kissed his soft, little palm gently.
Me: “A kiss.”
The smile that bloomed on his face was priceless.
Me: “I love you.”
Braden, as he pranced off with a grin: “I love you, too, Mommy.”
These little things may seem unimportant. They’re not. I truly believe that filling his childhood with tender, loving acts and caring for his feelings above my own consistently will have a huge impact on the person he becomes. I don’t always get this right – I have plenty of selfish moments where I fail. But I think that bringing myself back here with him over and over again is the important part. It’s what he’ll remember.
The smile that bloomed on his face is an outward indicator of something that will be etched on his soul and he’ll carry it with him and pass it to others.
The little things matter. The little ways you love those you care about are big inside their hearts (and not just your kids).
Today was Braden’s last day of school – he is officially heading to first grade. Last week he told me that he was so excited about Friday, because there would be no more school! Today, however, when it was time to leave school, he was very sad and started crying. “I am going to miss seeing my teachers and friends,” he told me.
I reminded him that he’ll get to go back next season and asked him what his plans for summer are. His reply? “Two things, Mommy: 1 – Go to the pool. 2 – Relax.”
I like the sound of that. Happy Summer Vacay, Friends!
I was reminded recently of this experience, and wanted to share it with you guys. Last summer, John took Braden and me with him to a show (he is a guitar player) at a place where there’s a helicopter ride offering on the property. We got lucky and were able to take Braden up in the helicopter that evening. The flight was amazing – open doors, of course, and it was very thrilling (the pilot turned us sideways at one point, with me on the underbelly, WHOA).
I had been so excited to go up in the helicopter myself, but, as thrilling as it was, I quickly realized that the best part of the ride was listening to Braden over the headphones we were all wearing. I wish I had an audio recording to share with you. He was adorable, hilarious, and sweet beyond description. I was not in a really great position to take photos of him (I was in the front, my hair whipping all over the place, holding my camera and phone) but I managed this shot by holding the camera over my shoulder.
It may not be the best photo, but I think you get the point. He was ecstatic. When we landed, John wanted to thank the pilot, but when he tried, he was given thanks himself. The pilot said it was the best ride he’d piloted in years because of Braden.
Children can be challenging and present all kinds of frustrating moments, but the joy they bring far eclipses any of that. They make the world an altogether more wonderful and interesting place. I’m so thankful we have him.
This morning, after a big birthday hug in bed, I asked Braden, “So… how does it feel to be 6? He replied, “stronger. faster. more awesome.”
Here’s hoping he feels that way with each passing year. In very many ways, he makes me feel that way, too.
Children laugh a lot. It is a beautiful thing.
A few nights ago, I heard my son laugh from upstairs. The laughter tinkled merrily down the stairs from up high to down where I was standing in the kitchen. It was the laugh of a four year old – giddy, unrestrained, and in those chucklesome, high-pitched, and somehow fairy-like tones that only children that young can achieve.
That night I heard the free, sincere, heartfelt laughter of my son, and I had a thought, suddenly. It hit me without consideration and washed over me harshly. It did not care what I was doing when it came on, or where it would leave me after it fled into the night beyond me.
And the thought was this:
There will come a day when I will not be so privileged as to hear that sound anymore as a common occurrence in my life, my day to day What Is, my moments possible to take for granted (even though I don’t want to). There will come a time when that laugh does not even exist anymore.
There will be a day when forever more I will not be able to hear that sound. His laughter will still be accessible to me (sometimes) but it will never sound that way again. It will become lost forever in the vault, deep and wide and sometimes difficult to navigate, that contains my lifetime of memories.
And memories have this awful way of fading and being so hard to recall in a tangible way, so hard to truly feel in the same way as they were once experienced.
I stood there, at the foot of the stairs, frozen in that moment. I stood there, playing that brief sound over and over in my head, savoring it. I was all alone, and may have nearly appeared catatonic in that moment of true consideration and revelation.
Braden may never know that he’s ever done something so simple but so incredibly and effortlessly meaningful that it captivated his mother so greatly. He might not realize that she once stood quietly relishing the joyous beauty of a 3 second laugh he uttered about a little bit of something more than nothing that faded into the night without him giving it another passing thought.
When I write these moments, it is like I’m drawing a map to put up on the inside of that vault, so that when I dive into it later, so much later, maybe I can find these most important of thoughts and feelings, these memories of the most golden days, and hold them near me again for a few moments.
And I will know.
And now you do, too.
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