I have no idea what people are talking about when they quote the latest Disney movies- I know nothing about Brave, Tangled, or anything else that came out after 2005. I am from the Toy Story/Mary Poppins era. (For the sake of my son’s dignity, I won’t mention here which of my boys seriously crushed on Mary Poppins and I think still does). My boys were the ones dressed like Buzz going to the grocery store and carrying Woody around for weeks on end. I always thought I was out of the loop with the princess movies because I had all boys. But yesterday enlightened me…..
Cooper and I were at Disney yesterday and found ourselves sitting in the Beauty and the Beast Show (he was definitely not thrilled but was taking one for the Mom Team). I did not think much of it besides it is a cute movie and we could finally sit down. As the show started, I knew EVERY SINGLE word to the songs AND the dialogue. What??? Where was that coming from? Then a slide show of pictures ran through my head of my sons as little guys with pacifiers and blankies curled up for a long awaited movie in the late afternoon, and Beauty and the Beast was a favorite- more for the Beast part than the Beauty. I had to catch my breath as I reminisced. The tears welled up and I was homesick for those days. The days of a warm snuggle and “I love you, Mommy. You are beautiful.” Even as I watched parents manuever big strollers and diaper bags through a hot, crowded Disney, I was a bit envious.
How do we treasure the memories of when they were small and embrace the next season of independence and adulthood? This may be disappointing to hear, but I don’t know really because I am in the thick of it and feel like a boat without an oar sometimes. But I have learned something as I have been pondering and praying about it lately. Here are my thoughts…..
I have become much more aware in my 40’s of my mortality. We have one shot at life on earth here. If we live in a season that has passed, we are cheating everyone around us. Our kids need us NOW right where they are. When Coleman wants to watch and quote The Office for the 500th time I need to sit and watch it and laugh even if I have no idea what is going on! When Cooper wants to play ping pong in the 110 degree heat I need to go out there and play. When Connor wants to talk about his job at Chick-fil-A, I need to listen and act like I have a clue. When Kobe calls from basic training, I need to engage and encourage even if he is talking in Army language.
They change, but they still need us. It has been hard for me to put my head around that lately. It looks so different but they still value our opinions even if they don’t show it. Sometimes I hear them retelling something I told them and I think- they were actually listening! Amazing.
They especially need us to pray for them. They live in a whole different world than we did. Snapchat, kik, instagram- they have a world at their very fingertips and it is scary as a parent. We have to be detectives- check their phones, delete apps, check the history. There is a lot of evil that many are tapping into and parents have no idea. One of my children dared to call me a stalker and I corrected him and told him that we call that PARENTING.
They live in the “selfie” generation. We need to be the balance- pulling them away from themselves long enough to see those around them. Entitlement and selfishness are rampant. They need to hear “it is not all about you” and we need to act on it- put them in situations which has no gain for them except the spiritual growth that comes from giving.
We can do this. Our kids need us. They don’t need a friend…..they need a parent to lead them. They are listening. In spite of the sighing and eye rolling, you are getting through. Keep on keeping on.