Monday, June 17, 2013

Movin' on Up

Just last week, I held my newborn son Jacob in my arms. I was sitting on the couch in the morning, and my husband had just left for work after a two-week leave to be with us. It was a rainy day, that slow, steady rain that runs down the windowpanes and makes you happy to be at home with no where special to go. Jacob and I were listening to the radio, and I was whispering to him that it was our first day alone together, that I hoped we'd be OK. I knew we were both new at this and nervous, but promised I'd do my best to give him whatever he needed, despite my sleep-deprived haze because, really, nothing was more important to me than him. Nothing. Just then, a song came on the radio by Edwin McCain that I'd never heard before. It was called "Could Not Ask For More" and the lyrics went like this:

Lying here with you, listening to the rain
Smiling just to see the smile upon your face
These are the moments I thank God that I'm alive;
These are the moments I'll remember all my life
I've found all I've waited for, and I could not ask for more.

Of course, I started bawling all over the poor, unknowing kid. It felt like the song had been written just for us, and was being played at the moment of my deepest insecurity to remind me that *this* is what life is all about, and that I was right where I was meant to be.

And just the other day, I held my youngest newborn son, Ben, in the hospital. I was in complete awe over his long eyelashes, tiny fingernails, enormous brown eyes and perfect skin. When my husband and three-year-old Jacob came in to meet him, I could see the love and excitement in their eyes, feel the joy of our expanding family and the impatience to get all of us home to begin our lives together.

I remember learning all about Ben, how completely different he was from his brother; a terrific eater and a terrible sleeper. I loved watching him watch his brother, his eyes following him around the room with longing, his constant wiggling and squirming as he tried in vain to get up off the changing table and run after his brother. It was pure adoration.

This week, Jacob will be graduating from 8th grade and moving up to high school. Ben will graduate from 5th grade and be moving up to middle school. They are kind, compassionate, responsible, loving and sharp-witted boys (and I say that purely objectively). They make me proud every day, and I shudder to think about next week, when I will be attending their college graduation ceremonies, and the week after that when they will be getting married, and next month when I will become a grandmother.

Savor the moments. Take pictures, and look at them often. Write them down, then read them over and over. Share them with your children. Tell them why these moments are important to you, why your *children* are important to you, and how they make you feel. Live and re-live your life with them, as often as possible. It will keep you going on the bad days and help remind you of everything you're doing right. It will inspire you to create more good days and to continue to treasure every interaction.

A wise person once said that when it comes to parenthood, the days are long but the years are short. It was the biggest understatement ever spoken.