The other day I wrote a post called Becoming which was about trying to teach my son about not letting others set his path for himself.
That night, while I laid in bed trying to go to sleep, the word “becoming” took on a different reflection.
You see, I’ve spent the majority of my life waiting.
We all do it. I think our society is geared for us to constantly be waiting for the next thing. It’s the want, the anticipation of what’s next that seems to propel us forward.
Being comfortable in the moment, appreciating the experience, the pause, the lesson is almost impossible.
Anticipation, waiting, anxiety, the next thing, preparing, limbo….
My whole life I’ve been waiting. When I was a small child I was waiting to be. First is was waiting to be a big kid, then a teenager, then 16, then 18, then a high school graduate, then waiting to go to college, turn 21, graduate from college, get married, pay off debt, get our act together so we could have a child, get through grad school, get pregnant, get through the pregnancy, finally have the baby….
So on and so forth.
I can’t even count the number of times I felt like my life was in limbo, that somehow I was on pause, waiting for the next thing to materialize, this thing I was working for, waiting for, anticipating. Why was it taking so long?
Having a child lessened that in me. I wanted to soak in the moments, knowing they would be fleeting since my child was a boy, knowing that this boy would not want me for long. Not being a girl, at some point he would push me off, push me away. I would always be mom, but I would be less. Gone would be the small thing that wanted to hold me, cuddle with me, play with me, tell me he loves me, be with me.
Yet I would find myself wishing for different things like when he’s done teething, when he can get his own snacks, when he can turn on the movie himself, when he stops watching the same movie 1000 times in a row, when he’s out of day care, when he’s old enough to….
Waiting by wishing life away.
And we all do it!
And I’m doing it right now in a sense. I don’t want summer to end. I am emotionally not ready for the school year to start for reasons I won’t expound on here, but which, if you read my blog, you can likely conclude for yourself. Right now, this ten and a half year old boy is perfect, happy, smiling with no burden on his shoulders and I’d like to freeze time; yet, I’m already wishing the entirety of the school year away, already wanting it over before it’s even begun. Wanting some other personal things to speed up, happen already, “Why am I still waiting for these things to be behind me already?!?”
And in the waiting, the guilt of not being able to make it happen sooner, or the inverse, the guilt of wishing it away.
When I was a big kid waiting to be a teenager, time seemed a vast ocean of years to wade though to make it finally appear. Now, middle aged, the 10.5 years of my son’s life have vanished in a moment, time moving ever faster the older I get. It seems like tomorrow he’ll be 20.
But, has it all been waiting or has it all been becoming?
Can I turn the message around for my son? Can I break the cycle we all live, this constant on hold feeling while wishing life away? The inability to experience the moment? He’s so young, so is it something I can achieve? He’s a big kid waiting to be a teenager, so can I alter the attitude that he’s not waiting, that he’s becoming?
For some reason I seem to be connected to people who foster butterfly chrysalides (which FYI I had to look up the plural of chrysalis). Over the last few weeks I’ve seen their posts on the butterflies emerging, taking flight once freed. It got me thinking of our lives in light of the butterfly.
Each stage is important. In each phase, we are becoming all we need to become so we can move onto the next stage. The beauty in that “becoming” is breathtaking.
The gift in being a mother is the ability to watch the journey. I knew I was pregnant at 5 weeks thanks to the arrival of morning sickness, which I would have ignored, if not for an ovarian cyst that had me doubled over in pain, afraid I had an ectopic pregnancy, which clearly I did not. I had my first ultrasound at 5 weeks pregnant thanks to that cyst and saw what looked like a little fish. I spent the day planning how I would reveal our little bun in the oven to my husband and impatiently waited the entire day to tell him in person when he got home from work.
We loved What to Expect When You’re Expecting because each week it would compare the size of the baby to a fruit or vegetable. “He’s the size of a blueberry.” Needless to say, we called him Blueberry until we settled on a name at 7 months gestation.
He was becoming developed enough to live outside of me.
At his birth he was becoming, changing from the constant companion inside of me to the child outside of me.
He was a new born becoming an infant.
He was an infant becoming a toddler.
He was a toddler becoming a little boy.
From the dog bite to the teething to the scarred forehead to the broken nose (twice in 8 months), the experiences, the moments, the tears, the joy, and everything in between, he was becoming.
And with each breath, I was becoming too.
From the new mom to the “yay, he survived to his 1st birthday” mom to the mom of a 10 year old and everything in between, I was becoming, I am becoming.
Life is an evolution, a journey. We’re supposed to stop and smell the roses, which is always an expression that sort of drove me nuts because of one of my grandmothers, but it is in my middle age that I can appreciate that she was trying to force herself to stop and drink in the moment, experience the moment and be.
If we are becoming, then we are not waiting. We are able to be, and it is in being, that we can relish the moment, appreciate the experience, stop long enough to see the tiniest of changes within the moment, within our children, within our selves.
Is this the key to slowing down time?
I have a feeling that time will move just as quickly, but perhaps the stress of that reality will not feel like a curse of limbo, of waiting for the next thing while wishing life away. Maybe, if I can teach this to my son, his life will be so much more full of wonder than I could ever dream of or achieve for my own. Maybe, just maybe, this is the key to happiness? Self actualization? Experience? Joy? Peace?
I have no idea, but I am done waiting. I am, from here on out, becoming, and will relish the experience of the moment.
Are you waiting, wishing life away, or are you becoming, appreciating and living in the moment?
Wish me luck in teaching this to my child.