Our sons stand taller than we do now. And our daughters are not the little cuddle muffins they once were. This hit me at a recent post soccer game celebration, one filled with an extra amount of laughter and nostalgia as each one of these 14 and 15-year old boys was individually recognized (teased) for his strengths, quirks, expressions and mannerisms that we have all come to know so well. We’ve been together as a team for a long time. We’ve watched our sons mature to the point that they can actually laugh at themselves, and a few of us never thought that would happen.
While all this is good to see, I have to admit that I struggle with my kids growing up. Not a day goes by that I don’t wish I could have just one day back when they were little and be reminded of how they talked, laughed, and felt in my arms at age four. But that’s a rewind button that doesn’t exist. In most ways we, as parents, are but spectators watching this runaway train that is our children’s lives.
Here in Greensboro, NC, it seems like lately we’ve had more than our share of young trains derail, never to be seen or heard from again. One bad decision or maybe just an unlucky decision is all it takes and suddenly what you and another parent had yesterday, only one of you has today. Maybe their child went to the same school or played on the same field as your child did. Maybe you would recognize the mom’s face from church or tennis, but you didn’t know her name. Or maybe you did.
It is a dark and bewildering place to be in your head, and I suppose a bit of a downer for me to share here so close to Mother’s Day, except that I’m just so sorry for these parents. I can’t bring myself to write about saving water or energy when this is the thing that weighs so heavily on my mind. But perhaps it’s not as irrelevant as it might seem.
So much of what we write here has a to do with helping parents make better decisions about their homes, and when you get down to it, nearly all of these decisions are in some way motivated by our drive to care for and protect our children. On a day like today, a week like this week, the little things (CFLs, dual flush toilets, etc.) don’t seem to matter much. It all gets thrown into one pot, the main course, the fruit of our labor, and our most precious natural resource of all: Our kids.
Hold them close and take a snapshot with your arms and lips. Be grateful that they are taller than you and that they are still on that runaway train. Embrace the parents with empty arms and remind them that we are all still in this together.
Happy Mother’s Day.