I laughed at my mom’s overly emotional responses to every stage of my life. I couldn’t stand the teary eyes and “that” look when I had a momentous occasion; I wanted her to be happy, not wistful for the baby I used to be. I needed her to be excited with me in that moment, as she had seen me through ALL the complicated puzzles I had put together to arrive at these huge occasions. Being wistful and wishing for a toddler and young child did not match my excitement and was disappointing.
Wistful looks were a wish and a thought of the “easy” times when I smiled and didn’t talk but a few sentences, when warranted. Nostalgia was a term used for missing the “good ol’ days” when I believed anything I was told. Back when I didn’t ask questions or want to debate, opposite the desire to be different for the sake of being different. Wistfulness was not a synonym for excitement in my new adventures, it was a synonym for wanting the past.
As I listen to my daughter’s first voice lesson at age 12, pouring out her heart so she can be on stage playing gigs when she’s a little older, I can feel so much emotion coursing through my bloodstream. When she was on stage previously at a local joint, her first gig appearance singing “Riptide” on her Ukulele, I had tears streaming down my face as I soaked in her adventure. Her excitement was palpable and it made my skin tingle. How could I ever wish for the days when this intensity of adventure was unknown to her? My elatedness leaking from my eyes in hot streams ever be wistful for times she didn’t have these experiences? As parents, we are allowed to grieve for the sleeping infant who smelled like warmth and comfort. We do lose the child we’ve known every day as they grow; grieving is natural.
However, as parents we are to embrace all they are on this current day. The opportunities to teach them, correct them, so they can be independent and positive members of society. Having kids that eventually leave us for their own adventures is a testament to raising strong kids and a job well done, be proud! Be the person who knows all the complications and puzzles that were put together to reach these milestones, to let your facial expression exude the warmth and excitement, not wistfulness, that their new adventure warrants. Catapult them into life with their passions and ideals, celebrating every step as they come.