I have never been one to gush about the “magical experience” of parenthood. That is not to say that I find parenting to be unfulfilling or unpleasant. Quite the opposite. I love my boys fiercely, but quietly. And for me. most days being a Mom is a practical exercise of equal parts frustration and satisfaction.
But every now and then, I am reminded that parenting is something more.
Last week, Noah got his braces off. Almost two years to the day the orthodontist installed a crazy steel palette expander on the roof of his mouth, all the metal came out in a 30 minute appointment on Tuesday. When they called me back to the treatment room, Noah revealed a smile that lit up the entire office and warmed that place in my heart reserved just for him. His teeth looked terrific, for sure. But there was something else that put a smile on my face that rivaled his grin for the rest of the day. I wasn’t quite sure what it was.
I knew it was related to this milestone in Noah’s life. That was obvious – but both the happy feeling and the duration of it were unexpected. Tuesday morning I felt so very privileged to be this kid’s mother – and it lasted all day long. It was a reminder from the Universe about being a Mom.
You see most days I busy myself so much with the act of parenting that I often forget what I am actually doing. I MAKE their lunches, I MAKE their beds, I MAKE the payments on their braces, I MAKE them do their homework, I MAKE them use good manners, I MAKE certain they are on time….. I make them who they are.
Parenting = Making a Person.
It is mind blowing – almost paralyzing – when you consider the responsibility. Yet, there are moments when you know you are “doing good.” As Noah smiled at me last week, my mind whispered to my soul:You made this happen. Thanks to the decision that you made to take this path, your kid looks terrific. And more importantly, he is really happy — so go ahead and take credit for that, too. Well done, Mom.
These moments of magic are really few and far between – and vary in their size and nature, but they all seem to rhyme with the notion that I got my kid through something important that helped him grow or made him better. We chose a path and walked it together. I guided and he traveled, not always happily. But look at the great place we ended up.
Mother of the Year? Hardly. These are paths that every decent parent travels with their children. Potty Training. Fear of Dark. Sleep Away Camp. Algebra I. Heartbreak. College. We walk with our children because we love them and, as a super duper bonus, we make fantastic grownups out of them. Grownups with kind hearts, good judgment and straight teeth.