Your kids are likely on their own by now, and you may be as well (or not, it is ten years from now after all). Will is now twenty-seven, Rachel is twenty-four, and Zoe is twenty-one. Need to get, or pickup, any of your kids from sports practices? Is their homework done? School papers signed? Do you have any laundry to fold this evening? Any lunches to make sure get made? Dinner for four? Great, all done and caught up!
I know there were times you wondered what qualifications you had to be a parent, let alone a single parent. What you experienced was not always as it seemed by flipping through your Facebook news feed (by the way, is that still around or did it go the way of MySpace?). There are probably times you are looking back right now and think about saying good night to them all as I do now.
As you are looking back on this time, I’m asking you to remember. Really remember. You never planned on being a single parent, yet decided to put into action the wisdom of Coach John Wooden: “Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.” Dad modeled it raising you as a single parent. Both Mom and Dad were there for you during this time, always. You learned growing up in Asia as a Third Culture Kid, though uneasy at first you adapted to your new environment and that ‘call of the unknown’ started to fill you with wonder as to what was ahead. Most days ended with exhaustion yet you were strengthened by the experience. You were navigating unchartered waters, yet you became more resilient. Though there were many times of doubt and instead of allow them to weaken your faith, you gained strength as you carried on. Raising kids is hard and there is a mirror in your face everyday. Gretchen Rubin was spot on when she said “The days are long, but the years are short.”
Will, Rachel, and Zoe are fantastic and you have enjoyed each and every stage. Football, basketball, until midnight summer swim meets, gymnastics, fishing, canoeing on the Shenandoah, beach time, camping, father/daughter dances, parasailing, water slides, the ‘dougie’ in the car at stoplights, making up our own lyrics (Zoe was right, you are a lousy rapper), Asian food dinner nights, speaking Malay to clear things up, school morning wake up routines with Zoe the wake up machine, ‘I love you notes’ that melt your heart, ‘I love you’ words out loud that melt your heart too, the look in their eyes when they don’t want their eyes to leave looking at you, and you at them, and saying goodnight before and after they are asleep.
You may have not realized it at this time where I am; sure you miss these times now. There is a tipping point and the years start to speed by. Oh, almost forgot. Make sure you call them; sure they will still have phones of some kind that have a voice feature in ten years. They will be paying for them too by then. Whether you are just letting them know you love them, thinking about them or making plans to be together.
I’m on my way to where you are Ed, and so far I have come to realize and appreciate what C.S. Lewis realized as well that “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
By the way, remember those summers we chased the sun?
Just as this year, each one has its own story.
The younger Ed