heading into the holiday season, i spent several days pouring through photos (and if you know me, there are thousands) to find the perfect shot for our holiday cards. as i sifted through the archive, i found many images that pulled me in, but that i couldn’t use because they all had one thing in common: they were shots of my kids from behind—taken from the vantage point of a mom, hanging back a couple steps and watching as they plunged into whatever lay ahead.
running at full speed up the 150-foot sand dunes with tiny shovels in hand. standing with pant legs rolled up as waves devoured their delicious little toes. sprinting to find the perfect pumpkins. staring with awe into fish tanks and candy shops, holiday windows and bakery shelves. setting aside brotherly quarrels to walk hand in hand through the crunchy fall leaves and giant rain puddles.
you can’t see their faces, but you can sense their wonder, the gusto with which they plunge into new experiences. as parents, you watch with a mix of pride and perhaps a touch sadness as these little beings go out into the world to explore, to experience, to see, touch and taste, to learn to stand on their own.
you try to prepare them as best as you can. when you fall, brush it off. if you lose, congratulate the winner. if you hurt someone, say you’re sorry. all the rules of engagement and pithy life lessons make sense…in a world full of order.
and then something happens to remind you that sometimes you simply have no control. though it’s been two weeks since the sandy hook tragedy, the horror of that day is the worst case scenario, every parent’s most horrific nightmare come true. one day, we were worried about protecting our kids from skinned knees and scary dreams, bullies and bike falls…and now this?
for our kids—and even for ourselves—we don’t know what lies ahead. but what we do have is the ability to be present and grateful for each moment that we have.
that doesn’t mean it’s all rainbows and butterflies. in fact it’s the opposite. it’s hard to juggle life’s demands, be there for your family, keep your perspective and see the good. but try to remember, in those times, to hang back for bit. step away from the chaos. take a cue from the little ones and embrace the wonder of moments that happen every single day. you never know when they will be your last...