To not want to miss even the smallest of milestones my children make?
To want to be the one they need to have see all of their new accomplishments and discoveries?
To want to be a part of everything they do and see and learn?
To want be the one they come to with questions?
To want to be they run to when they are frightened or reach for when they are hurting?
To want to hear about every second of their experiences when we have been apart?
To not want to skip a single night of bedtime kisses or round of morning greetings?
To want them to know all about my hobbies and interests and passions?
To see them mature or exhibit a growth in understanding and feel proud, knowing that I had an active role in bringing that about?
The other night I was tucking our oldest son into bed and he asked me if a particular historical figure had been a bad guy. I wasn’t familiar with the person so he pulled out a history book he was reading, flipped to the page that had a black and white photo of the general and said, “The things this man said made me think he was a bad guy…” My heart nearly burst as I realized how many layers of growth could be explored in that one statement: he was reading and pondering and understanding. Such growth!
And our oldest daughter astounds me with her aptitude for initiative. If there’s a mess, she cleans it up (with cleaning spray and all); if there are tears, she soothes the younger sibling and wipes them away; if I express weariness, she finds a way to help out. Such maturity!
I’m left with the thought that our children need to know that their parents are wowed by them. They need to see that we cheer the loudest when they succeed, weep the hardest when they are broken, and celebrate the longest when they grow and learn. And that comes with not only quality time but large quantities of quality time. Often the greatest victories are the most subtle and the ones who spend the most time with our children will be the ones to recognize them. I think it provides our children with a sense of security and fulfillment when we point out their growth to them; it encourages us as parents, as well, and allows us to know where to go next in our parenting.
Is it selfish to not want to share my children with the world before I absolutely have to? I don’t think so; I really don’t.