This is the last note I wrote to Stephanie and it is from “Notes To Stephanie: Middle Aged Love Letters And Life Stories” as you might guess. Regardless of its temporal place in the sequence of the Notes it illustrates an ageless theme. The fact that little kids grow up into adults with their own, unique personalities, hopes, fears, dreams, and quirks.
In the past two days we have seen both of my two kids, they are yours too you know, feel upset about something important in their lives. In both cases I too have felt sad due to their personal sadness. And in both cases I have responded to them, of course in different ways since they are different people with unique personalities and situations. As I wrote the other day, as a parent I want to “make it all better”, but I cannot do that all of the time. It is very true that I remember them both as if they were little kids again. Innocent, full of love and full of life’s experiences which at a young age are mostly full of wonder and excitement. Of course they are both young adults now but the ghosts of their childhood haunt me it seems.
Much of this emotion comes from knowing they are grown now and also from not having them around. Per se I do not suffer from “empty nest syndrome” but in a way perhaps I do. One’s happy memories of for example taking them to the park and watching them play are always somewhere in my sub-conscious mind. These fond remembrances are present; such things fill your mind too. Knowing that these times will not replay themselves is something that one knows but at the same time perhaps wants to reject the obvious reality of.
The reason is simple. As a loving parent our kids are always there in our minds and hearts. Maybe they are not always in the forefront of our thoughts but they always color our feelings. Even when these long ago images are far below the waves of the sea of our conscious minds. Thus, when things happen to them that remind us that they are adults our minds, anchored in the past, want to revolt against this fact and thus we are saddened.
I can fully understand now why my mom is the way she is. She always was there for me and my sister. And let us not forget my dad as well. And she still is when times get rough even though we of course sometimes do not see eye to eye. Regardless of the occasional enmity, she still is a loving mom. She always will be. I hope our kids will see us the same way over the coming years especially when we are gone from this life. Certainly she still sees us as little as we once were. It is only natural to do so.
In your case, you really never had a true family but yet you have the same type of attachment and love for your two kids, they are mine as well, that caused you to care so very much. I think that the fact that you were an orphan made you love your kids even more, giving them what you did not have as a child. You are a very loving mother that is certain. And it shows in the angst you sometimes feel about “your two”. If you did not I would be worried about you (and if I did not you should be worried about me). Perhaps this shows that all of us, regardless of our backgrounds as kids, have the capacity to love our children as they grow up.
So one can see I think that it is a natural thing for one to love their kids, even when they are grown. As we can never forget who they were when they were little so can we also not forget that they are grown up now like us. Our love remains for them but how we express that love is different since they and us are at different points on life’s road. And that we must always remember and is something they too will learn one day when they are parents.
Jeff To Stephanie January 21, 2009