Had an interesting conversation at supper tonight. My husband was commenting on how a work associate of his was going to the hospital with his wife the next morning, and their child was going to be born! They were placing wagers on whether the husband was going to make it without passing out. Men can be a little less sentimental about the process than women at times.
With our two grown sons sitting at the table with us, Greg and I started reminiscing about our own delivery days...how when our first baby came, we didn't call ANYONE for about 3 hours after he was born, wanting to just savour the intimacy of our own intoxicatingly wonderful moment with our baby!
I'm a mixture of horrified (I would feel just as disappointed as our parents did, I'm sure, if that were to happen to me as a grandparent one day) and still strangely happy that we had our time together as just the 3 of us! Of course, Evan, our son, remembers none of this - it has become a memory for Greg and I to share alone.
Then we talked about how different each child is from the other. How our daughter curled her index finger around her nose when she would suck her thumb, how our sons each had their must-have blanket. And none of our kids remember any of it.
The things we remember as parents of our children's early years become just stories to them. Pictures help to fill in the gaps, but in some ways these stories we tell them in their grown up years are about a person they no longer know. As grown-ups we remember those little people, but the little people have moved on and have been replaced by new, more grown-up people that we learn to forge new relationships with. How we relate to our children as toddlers is COMPLETELY different than the way we relate with them as elementary children or teenagers. Parents learning to let go of the childhood ways is a challenge for they hold a beauty never to be had again. The smell of a newborn head. The cuddles with bedtime stories. The holding of hands as you walk through the park. All those come to an end one day.
But they are replaced with conversations about issues and important heart sharing. Watching my children grow and take on adult responsibilites and be contributors to the welfare of others has been soul stirring and affirming. But the letting go...every once in a while I miss those little ones who used to sit on my lap and fall asleep in my bed.
I will be the story teller. The one who tells my now grown children about the little ones I once knew.
And they smile as they hear the love in my voice, and their inner child feels it, too.