So The Guardian newspaper did a feature on parenting.
They spoke to all manner of parents …
Expecting … new … gay … single … old … empty nesters …
It was fascinating reading, but there was one family whose comments really hit hard.
This is their article …
While the whole article is gentle and caring, there were 2 things that really stood out.
The first is their acknowledgement that the importance of their relationship is fading as their children get older.
The second was that the magic of doing things together – as a family unit – cannot be recaptured.
Now of course, both of these are true because both of them are a byproduct of children growing older.
In some ways, it’s a beautiful compliment, because it means your children have the ability to forge their own life thanks to your love, support and guidance, but on the other hand, the parents must feel a great sense of loss at the same time.
Even though Otis is just over a year old, I can just imagine how hard it will when he gains his full independence.
When he doesn’t turn to us first for love, protection, advice and encouragement.
It also makes me think of my Mum … how she must have felt.
When I ‘left home’, I left for Australia and while I tried to keep in regular contact, this was before the internet so the calls were not as frequent as they ended up being later on.
On top of that, Mum had her beloved husband to look after he had a stroke … so after 25 years of being a close family unit, the construct of her precious relationships were turned upside down seemingly in the blink of an eye.
I hope she didn’t feel our relationships importance was fading.
I hope she knew how much I loved her.
How much I missed her.
I tried to ensure she did, through my actions and words … but seeing those comments by the family above, really hit home … which is why it’s a good reminder how bitter-sweet parenthood is. Sure, there’s countless wonderful and magical things you get to experience as a parent – things I didn’t even know existed until I became Otis’ Dad – but the fact is, there will be a point in our life together, as the family above state, where things will change and I will watch them feeling a mixture of pride and sadness.
I guess this is a great reminder how much our parents adore us … because to let go of the ones we love, even though we want to step in to protect them and care for them, just so they can move forward to forge their own life, is the ultimate declaration of love.
I fortunately recognised that before my parents passed away.
I hope I will be able to do that as compassionately and supportively for Otis.
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