Yes indeed, the year is about at it’s end. So much can happen in the course of 365 days. There are a lot of memories to be made, a lot of learning that can occur, and a lot of growing up to be done. During the last 12 months, we have seen a lot of change, a lot of growing, and have made a lot of memories. In looking back to the beginning of the year, and looking upon all of the events of the year, I turn my focus to the kids.
My, oh my how they have grown. Physically, and as their own little persons. I look back in amazement at how much they have learned, how much they can do, and how much of an individual both of them have become. I know at this point next year, I will be saying these same exact words. I’m pretty sure I did this time last year too. This year however, it is with somewhat tearful eyes I look on.
Looking towards the past, or off into the future, is always looking from a distance. Looking from a spot that requires a different angle, a different focus. With a somewhat tearful eye, I know that for me, the future will require watching my children from more of a distance as well. As they learn and they grow, they will continue to grow more independent of my guidance and my hand. They will be striding on down life’s road a little further ahead of me than they have in the past. For me, it’s a hard realization to come to grips with. After four years of being the working parent, and missing out on so much, I am finally home with the kids on most days. And now that I am home more, I have to disengage a little more. Just doesn’t seem right does it?
The fact is, it is exactly what is right for my children at this stage. They are more than eager to explore the world around them without as much guidance and security from myself and my wife. They are more confident, more aware of dangers, and maybe a little more cocky too. They know a greater understanding of right versus wrong, and good versus bad. They have their boundaries and are ready to push as close as they can to the edge of said boundaries. It is truly an amazing thing in itself. To think that my two little munchkins are their own people now. They have their own agendas, own plans for the day, and their own imagination of what more could be possible during the hours they are awake.
Of course, I want to be right there. Grabbing on before every may or may not be fall. I want to be constantly telling them that something is not safe, or not a good idea, or whatever. But I can’t. I shouldn’t, and I don’t know quite how to feel. I am proud of the individuals they are becoming. Don’t get me wrong about that. I want to raise strong, reliable, independent individuals in my kids. But for so long, I have been the playmate, the lunch maker, the guardian of all toys, and protector. And now? Now I’m like the spotter in a NASCAR race. I don’t watch a lot of racing anymore, but I’m pretty sure they still use spotters. They let the drivers do their thing, but they watch from a distance giving the best advice possible and hoping he driver can do the right thing with the information.
I guess I won’t be the only one learning things in this new year. As they learn their new boundaries, new abilities, and new limits, I will also be learning these things about them. And I will be learning to watch from a distance. At a critical stage for development in them, I reach a critical stage of backing off. The new year roles around and so do many changes. I’m sure there will be many memories made, many new things learned. And plenty of opportunities to just sit back and watch.