Twenty-seven years ago I became a mother and upon seeing this new little life for the very first time, I remember her presence creating an aura of time standing still. I held her, cradled her and was captured by a moment of her entering into my life.
Ask my daughters, I’ve told them this story often over the years. It’s the miracle of birth as I like to call it.
I thought that story was a part of the past until….
After traveling by plane, bus and train I arrived in Oxford, England to see my daughter graduate with her Masters. After finding and settling into my own room, a short distance from where my daughter is living, I picked my way through the maze of parents, students, tourists and locals to our prearranged meeting destination.
Standing in reception, waiting, observing the surroundings, I saw this woman striding towards me, walking with confidence and purpose. And suddenly, once again there she was, entering my life all over again. Before I knew it, I had “re-entered” that moment of breathless awe and was returned to being captured by the miracle of birth. Only now that little baby came to me as a woman.
When our children enter our lives, regardless of whether by birth, adoption or step-parenting, something is altered within us. A part of us is now, mysteriously, roaming about this world, stretched from within us, yet we are still connected to one another.
How often do we allow ourselves to be vulnerably aware of this and to let it tutor us from these places of being knocked “breathless?”
For myself, too often I want to silence the discomfort by rushing to fill the space between us with a hug, lots of greetings, small talk of the weather…
But instead of filling the silence, this time, as my daughter crossed the room toward me, I paused, breathless and (in what felt like slow motion) she came to me…
her heels clicking across the wooden floors eliminated the distance between us…
her arms outstretched to enfold me…
her words of greeting coming into me…
her hand taking mine to lead me through locked doors she opened…
The invitation was now reversed. Instead of her entering my world, this time, I was invited to enter her world. Would I take the time to notice and honor this shift?
During this graduation week here at my daughter’s college I am somewhat amazed as I “eaves-watch” (a form of eaves-dropping) parents from around the world re-connect with their grown children.
Another woman and I shared an intimate “mother moment” over a cup of tea as we talked about our graduating children. She is from India and I’m from the USA, but we understood each other perfectly when she gently placed her hand on her chest and saying, “He is no longer at my breast, now I ache with longing to see him.”
We are still mothers, but this miraculous role in our children’s lives continues to shift, like it has from the very first day. The question that strikes me now is, will I pause and notice?
Just yesterday I listened as the Dean of Oxford addressed the graduates seated in the middle of the expansive room. We parents, were lining the edges of the room. We parents scrambled to take the picture of remembrance — that piece of something that allows us to mark our participation in our child’s life.
Right there in that room, once again I paused to notice and to celebrate the places where my daughter’s life has stretched me beyond my own expanses. It was, after all, her very own life choices that brought Rick and I to that moment in time.
Now miles and cities away from that experience, this thought hangs with me…
What if we as parents risk noticing the moments our children take our breath away? What if we, just for a moment, linger in those moments of the past when we first began this whole crazy journey called parenting? If we take just a moment in that remembrance, we will taste a bittersweet joy of what it means to be holding and letting go again and again.
And can I just tell you, there’s really nothing like it. That moment when we see our children’s lives expand ever forward, creating more life out beyond the foundations of what we have given them.
There’s really nothing quite like it.
What have some of these moments looked like for you as parents? As always, I’d love to hear from you, either post below or send me an email.
But I have to run off now, to have another round of tea & scones (of course),