I admit I’m like a kid with candy. I’m getting to see both daughters within the space of a week.
I also admit that there were moments during all those home educating years that I would have relished the opposite! Space without them every week – but it was probably the same for them too. They must have got sick of their mother’s enthusiasm in their ears saying ‘Let’s do this – Let’s do that’ – especially when they had plenty of ideas of their own. Now though, space abounds and their absence has the same feel about it as old empty nests.
But that’s the thing about parenting. It’s almost always full on or full off.
Initially, waiting for that first baby, you cannot conceive what it’ll be like to be a parent. You’re just thinking baby. Then your life is transformed in an instant and you’re propelled into a career of care and decision and duty that’s unimaginable. And overwhelming love. Or just overwhelm sometimes!
But you grow used to that, reassess everything, make adjustments as all previous priorities suddenly count for nothing because you now have a new mission – parenting. And whilst you’re busy coping the years flow sweetly by – okay, some not so sweetly maybe – but you keep on moving with the milestones, clambering over the crises, celebrating the achievements and triumphs and all of a sudden you’re moving towards a parenting of a different kind; distance parenting, like mine is now.
And it’s not till then that you realise that you haven’t got your little ones round your feet any more, not infants, tweens or teenagers even and you’re left thinking; what was all that about then?
Now I’ve reached that point I have a different take on that question to when I was immersed in that delicious life of small things.
I realise it was about the opportunity to do something much greater than I ever imagined. It was the opportunity to nurture new beings. Nurture them towards being responsible and caring and respectful, as we demonstrate to them. Beings who can contribute, build a life that’s worthy of their place on the earth as perhaps we all need to earn that. Who can be valuable in a myriad of different ways through the way they live, behave and interact.
And it most of all it was about perpetuating love. About showing love, about sharing out and receiving love, thus making the people around them a little happier, as love does, who will in turn pass that on, until it becomes as widespread as thistledown and as infectious as giggling. And finally it will come back to you, as it will when I see my two gorgeous girls.
That’s what parenting has been all about. Our parenting has the potential to make the world a more loving place. Now you know!
Treasure your opportunity while you have it.