Seasons of Parenting
Holidays and blizzards provide the perfect opportunity to reflect on the seasons of parenting.
As parents we often reflect on our parenting journey as a series of seasons, some of them seem never ending while we’re in them and some of them seem to fly by.
Some seem like cautionary tales for generations to come and others invoke warm, halcyon-coloured memories that have us longing for the ability to go back and revisit them.
One thing all of these seasons have in common is that we never definitively know when we are reaching the end of one until the end is upon us or already in the rear-view. Every now and then we are gifted with the opportunity to know that we are likely to approaching the end of a season in our journey with our child(ren).
One of those rare moments of clarity struck me over the 2022 holiday season and it is well and truly cemented into my memory and heart.
If you’re reading this from your home in Ontario, chances are good that your holiday plans were impacted in some way by the epic wintery weather that descended upon us – I know we were!
So instead of celebrating togetherness and joy with extended family, we were cocooned here in our little house weathering the storm and celebrating that togetherness and joy on a smaller scale.
Then one by one everyone (except me) got sick so we cocooned even longer. We enjoyed some serious nap time and relaxation as people recuperated and rested up between bouts of snow shovelling and fits of coughing.
One afternoon I was relaxing on the couch in a very quiet house contemplating all of the things I could or should be doing to feel like I was making good use of the time off at home, but the couch and cozy blanket were just too inviting and I settled in…. First a dog joined me and then another dog piled on top, next a rather lanky 12 year old climbed on to the arm of the couch to chat and then moved a little closer, and still closer until he inched his way past the first dog and slowly started to wiggle his way under the other dog until he was in the much coveted spot laying hip to hip on top of me with his head on my shoulder.
This has long been a favourite snuggle position for all of my children and one by one they all grew to the point that it didn’t happen anymore. This lanky guy is the youngest of 4 and he is fast approaching being as tall as me. He chatted for a few more minutes and then his breathing slowed and the next thing I knew he was sound asleep.
As I lay there unable to move under him it struck me that this would likely be the last time that this would happen, as with each of his siblings it was eventually the last time they snuggled with me on the couch and had a glorious nap, warm and cozy and feeling so very loved and safe.
Maybe because he is the youngest of 4 and because I don’t have any real recollection of that particular last with the older kiddos, I paid more attention to the moment, I stealthily snuck a quick picture and really drank it all in.
I spent a few minutes thinking about this moment, and so many others, that at times seem to slip by unnoticed, but mean so very much as mile markers when we reflect on the journey of life.
It was a warm feeling but also filled with a little melancholy. We work so hard as parents/caregivers to help our children feel safe, secure and loved and it’s a bit bittersweet to feel their wings spread a little more with each passing milestone; knowing that we can’t always be there to keep them safe and secure.
I can only hope that he and his siblings carry with them the feelings of love, safety and acceptance experienced in those quiet snuggly moments we shared as they journey on and forge their own paths.
I deeply hope that they take the love and care that I have tried to wrap them in and reflect that back out into the world.
Sweet, snuggly moments in time; brief, spontaneous but under the surface so deeply meaningful. So here I am saying goodbye to that one moment and looking forward to so many more firsts and lasts as my family grows and changes.
Thanks for taking the time to read my reflections about quiet moments folded in the tranquillity of a snowstorm.