Please leave a comment and share your experiences.
“The second time around” by Saelen Ghose
I missed the world the first time around. I was too busy trying to unearth myself from the grips of fear, insecurity and doubt. That excavation has taken forty years and then some, and I’m still brushing off the dust, finding new nooks and crannies in my forever evolving self. And honestly, I never even realized I missed it until I had kids. They’ve opened my eyes to a whole new world.
Why else would you have kids? They’re loud, they’re smelly, they break things, they don’t listen, they run when you want them to walk, and they walk VERY slowly when you need them to hurry. All in all, kids are kind of difficult to have around.
But seeing the world through their eyes is a blessing for me, or for any person brave enough to take the leap into parenthood. Kids marvel at the smallest of things; a dragonfly resting on a cucumber vine, a frozen crystallized ornament adorning the kitchen window after a cold snowy night, a huge splash from a funny belly flop, a first lick of ice cream, or simply a person with an interesting face who looks different from them. All of these things kids enjoy simply because they are things to be enjoyed. Kids don’t have an agenda or a bag of learned tendencies, they see the world for what it is, and that’s something all parents get to learn the second time around.
I have no memory of any of these simple experiences from my childhood. I remember lots of stuff, some good, and some not so good. I remember the bully at school taking my favorite baseball hat and tossing it in the air, only to have it land in a car that just happened to be driving by. I also remember the look on the bully’s face when he saw the look on my face, both of us realizing that my hat was gone forever. He was as mortified as I was sad. I remember my first crush that wasn’t reciprocated. And I remember my second one that was. I remember getting picked first in kickball games during elementary school, and making the baseball team in high school. I even remember losing an arm wrestling match to the girl who lived two houses down from me, and then spending the rest of the day crying under my desk in my bedroom. I also remember getting a rematch and beating her two years later. All of these memories, plus many more, were vital in shaping the person I am today, but they aren’t the little things that my parents probably remember.
My kids are young, but I know they will have their own set of experiences that will forge their personalities and lead them on their own path to self-discovery. They already are, and those experiences are just part of the larger human experience. But while they’re focusing on the big picture, I’ll be picking out the little things and making mental notes. Or when my brain isn’t able to remember everything, I’ll jot them down in a journal, or take a picture, or capture them on video. All of these moments will help remind me that every moment I have on this planet is precious. And I’ll thank my kids for teaching me that, something I should have learned the first time around.
I don’t want anyone to get the wrong impression of me when I jest about kids. I love mine unconditionally, no matter how many gray hairs have grown on my head because of them. Sure they are a handful, but they are a lot of fun, and certainly my life’s biggest blessing. But getting to see the world simply for the wonder of it all, may be the best gift they’ve given me.
Now I’m wondering what it might be like the third time around. It’s an intriguing thought. Grandparents often say they have it the best. They can enjoy the little ones for a time, and then hand them back to their parents as they go on their merry way to whatever golf outing, town meeting or bus cruise they’ve got planned. What a concept that is, and I think it’s probably true. Every round of life we experience, we’re better able to sift away the less important aspects and focus on the nuggets of gold and other precious moments that we didn’t, or couldn’t see before. Wow, it makes me all giddy just thinking about that next round.
Nah…..forget that. What’s the point in fast-forwarding life? I’m having too much fun right this very moment.
What are you learning the second time around?
What did you miss the first time around?