On Fireworks, Regrets and Parenting
(This is a personal post…come back tomorrow if you prefer more of our juicy B2B marketing strategies)
I’m not sure why I looked up. Perhaps the train had a sudden movement? Or my seatmate stretched? But, as I lifted my head up, I caught a glimpse of something through the branches of a swaying tree. For the space of two heartbeats, a brilliant red and gold fireworks display lit up the night and the tree.
It was gone before I could fully register what I’d seen.
Even as I was marveling at the beautiful surprise, I was mourning how quickly it had disappeared. I felt almost angry, filled with regret that I couldn’t make the train stop and somehow hoard the moment.
I was still puzzling over that feeling of regret when I walked in the door. My 6 year old son screamed “Mommy,” and ran full tilt towards me. But even as he catapulted into my arms, I was equally aware that my older two sons were at camp and that the house felt full of their echoes. My feeling of sadness solidified, and I knew why.
My children are getting older and I’m struggling with it.
To be honest, it seems to be a losing battle. My eleven year old’s world is expanding rapidly — he enters middle school in just a few weeks. Meanwhile, my nine year old sometimes seems happiest away from home and on a baseball diamond, a natural Captain of the team.
I know my job as a parent is to help them embrace their growing independence, but I wasn’t prepared for how hard it would be.
As I pulled my youngest into a hug that night, I realized that I’ve been making a significant parenting mistake. I’ve been letting my sadness over “what was” creep into our “what’s now.”
I know how to be happy during the fireworks display. I have to learn how to be at peace with the quiet night that follows.
To reach Elizabeth: