“Mommy is it today or tomorrow?” I’ve always marveled at how kids have no sense of time. If you were to ask my son when something happened he would tell you, “yesterday”, which could mean any time in the recent or not so recent past. He would ask if we could do something “tomorrow” which just meant the future. I love the simplicity of this. Living completely in the present moment as children do. If it has already happened- it’s yesterday and if it is still to come- it’s tomorrow. In my heart it seems to be the way we were meant to live and couldn’t that be what Jesus meant when he told us to be like little children? To live in the only moment we truly have- the one right now. As adults we grasp at the future and cling to the past while letting the present slip through our tech laden fingertips. As children this moment to moment living comes to us as naturally as breathing.
I’ve so taken his childhood innocence for granted. Now I see glimpses of adult thinking, and the anxiety that inevitably follows, forming in his rapidly growing mind. I worry so much that the anxiety I have always dealt with is going to be passed down to my son. I see him stress about how many days until school starts, or his flu shot, or when daddy comes home. I see him starting to understand the passage of time. I hear him ask me how long until “you and daddy are old people.” And I know these are the questions of a big-thinking child. I remember these thoughts as a kid and the worry they brought with them. I know I can’t keep him little forever. And I believe in honesty with my children., but every time I answer a big, grown up question I feel him grow an inch. I desperately want to hold on to this part of his childhood- not to keep him small. I can’t wait to see him grow up into the man he was created to be. I want to hold on to this part of his childhood and have it grow with him. The part that sleeps soundly with no worries. The part that giggles at potty humor and silly faces. The part that is sheer joy and wonder at learning a new thing; at seeing this world as only a small child can. I want him to grow and flourish without the constant fear and anxiety that plagues so many adults.
I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know if it is even possible. But I do know that I will encourage him with every breath I have to pursue his passions in life. The thought of my son working his life away doing anything but what sets his mind and soul on fire hurts my heart. I know it sounds cliche and that the realities of life don’t always line up with our dreams for our children ( or their dreams for themselves.) But I don’t think that fact should make us say, ” well then screw it I’ll just work to pay the bills.” I would rather him chase after whatever his dreams may be, pursuing them tirelessly, and fail; than not pursue them at all.
We all have “what ifs” in life. I want my son to have as few of those as possible. It is my job to instill in my little man a sense of responsibility, yes. He may have a family to care for one day and unfortunately those bills don’t pay themselves. But I will also be there when he comes to me saying he wants to discover the next dinosaur to say- Why not you, kid?! If he wants to major in Puppet Arts (yep, that’s real.) I will tell him to be the best damn puppeteer since Jim Henson. Even if nothing ever works out the way he thought it would or how he planned, I want him to be able to look back and say- what a crazy ride.
I will pray over this child every.single.day that he never loses his joy or spark. That he becomes the man he was created to be and that I never be the one to discourage him or stand in his way.