They’re going to grow up… that’s a fact. A fact that brings me such joy and yet such gut-wrenching sadness at the same time. Is that wrong? It does indeed seem wrong to my mind but the truth is that when I think that one day my five children will want to leave us and go live their dreams it all feels just so bitter-sweet. Can you relate? These days may seem so long but they are actually so very fleeting.
Of course I want them to grow up, follow their hearts and live the most happy and joyous life they can. In fact I believe this so much that I tell them all the time that the only thing I really want them to focus on is knowing themselves, trusting themselves, understanding what makes them happy and building a life that centres on their joy and the true impulses of their heart… after all, isn't the only thing we really want for our kids happiness? I don't worry so much about how they do at school, what grades they get or if they get a detention. I worry that they stay connected to their own spirit, that they know what works for them, that they dare to speak their truth and that they think for themselves.
But surely that could mean they move on to the other side of the world one day following their heart or that they could embrace a career or start a business with such passion that they have little time to see us. They may fall in love with their chosen one and follow them all over the world or work for a cause that takes them somewhere dangerous and very far away… all this does indeed make my heart sink as much as it swells for them (of course they could also fall in love with the boy or girl next door and live on our farm forever happily ever after (hehee!)).
But right now how can my every day be filled with so much of them… of their needs, of their feelings, of their growth… and know that one day that will all end? Oh dear me, am I THAT mother?! The one that is so consumed with her children that she has no life of her own?! Probably… and I’m ok with that. Seeing their little hands grow from squishy and fat to long and graceful, watching the drama, joy and pain of losing their first tooth, simply holding the space for daily meltdowns, insecurities, worries, rages, joys, creations, discoveries, and triumphs… I find it such an incredible journey that the truth is I don't want to have time to do much else!
Many of my clients tell me they feel there’s so little obvious reward for all the hard work we mothers put into our children on a daily basis and it can all feel so ungratifying in the moment. I wholeheartedly agree. Sometimes I feel like I’m wasting so much time and am bringing nothing of value to the day and yet one day they will be grown up and that will be a reward I can barely conceptualise at this moment. Who will they be? What will they do? I don't know but we will have GROWN a human being. That’s amazing!
Just like growing a garden it can all seem so un-obvious at the time when the seeds are in the ground or even when just the little sprouts are showing. But in ten or twenty years time if that garden is continued to be taken care of it will have flourished into a beautiful landscape where once there was nothing. Isn't that what we’re really here to do? To provide these little seedlings of ours with the environment, love and care they need to take root and fully blossom into the unimaginable potential that is shimmering within them from the day they are born? And yes, the truth of that is that one day those seeds, which were never actually ours to begin with, will blow away on the breeze of their magical life and will re-seed themselves elsewhere.
And where will we mothers be? We’ll be blessed with the knowledge that we’ve taught them the intangible yet movingly profound experiences of what it feels like to be loved, we’ll have invaluably given them their first feelings of security, trust, respect and care upon which they’ll pin all their future expectations for the same from others… isn't that all something truly amazing? Did we even know we were capable of such great acts of kindness, love and compassion? I sure didn’t. What an honour they have blessed us with and isn't that enough to last us a lifetime no matter what comes next? I feel so.
With great love,
Ginny Johnstone is a certified Positive Discipline Parent Educator, consultant and Heal Your Life coach specialising in teaching conscious parenting ideas and self-awareness tools to parents and teachers in South Africa.