The nostalgia that comes with the holidays seems to be the natural place to celebrate life with my children, who are now all young adults. The end of the year tends to be a time of reflection and I use it to dive into my kids’ lives and reestablish contact in a new and meaningful way. Let’s face it, they aren’t the same people they were last year at this time.
I marvel at how smart, how funny, and how mercurial they are. I am awestruck at their humor, their insight, and their commitment to “showing up in their lives.” I am touched by their comments to me which include “you look hot in those jeans, Mom” by my 24-year old daughter and “every kid should have a mom like you” by my 23-year old, six-foot-tall son.
So here’s to the tweens, the teens and the young adults in our lives. These wonders of light and love. To my own children, I say thank you. Thank you for inviting me into your world, and sharing your thoughts, your aspirations, your fears and your dreams. Thank you for sitting on my lap, for letting me braid your hair, and sharing a quiet moment of reflection. Thank you for sticking with me through all my painful parenting faux pas and my brilliant moments of wisdom.
Thank you for explaining rap, racism and redemption all over a game of bananagrams. Yes, those were the topics we dove into as we were laughing our asses off. Thank you for trying on the dorky pants I bought you and not rolling your eyes when you thought I wasn’t looking, because I got the wrong style, size and color – again. Thank you for teaching me how to use Instagram to grow my business, talking with me about education in the 21st century, politics and your ideas for making the world a better place.
Thank you for loving each other. For cuddling up together during The Grinch and letting me get a glimpse of you as small children, even if just for a moment. Thank you for fixing each other french toast and eating together around the table, something I miss each and every day now that you are all out living your big, fat, brilliant lives.
For all you parents out there who wonder whether you will have a strong, loving, relaxed, rewarding, respectful, relationship with your tween, teen or young adult, I say YES. But it’s up to you. You will have to invest in the relationship even when you want to walk away, to trust when you have fear, to listen with an open mind and heart even when you’ve heard the same story a dozen times. You will have to believe in them before they believe in themselves and if you do, you will be rewarded.
Do not waste a single moment with these magical beings. Before you know it, they will have moved on and you may find yourself trying to carve a spot in their new and exciting lives. Take a few moments, and look beyond the external expression of who they are and look into the hearts, the minds and the spirits of these young people.
There is much joy to be found in those sparkling eyes.