Every. Blink. Counts.
They said it would go fast, but I didn’t believe them. Sunrise…sunset.
I clearly remember purchasing a single-running stroller for my firstborn and thinking, “Why do they say it goes by so quickly? In the early months, I treasured. “It’s not. so. fast.”
Then, fast forward almost 25 years.
There is so much out there about “lasts.” It can’t help but leave any parent in a heap of rolling tears. But, what is most significant to me, is looking back and not knowing it’s the “last” in familiar family life that is so difficult.
My memories begin to return.
The joys of a full and busy home filled with laughter, family meals, shopping for favorite foods, running in and out to open houses, planning birthdays, valentines, and attending school sports and performances, sleepovers, mischief, and, tween turmoils at the 11th hour, holiday decorations, and missteps (yes, therapists too. We are often harder on ourselves because we know the ‘formula,’ so to speak). Yet they all swirl around as instances, as blinks in life so entirely part of my children and me, but now out of reach. If only…
I recollect a little more on my own list of “lasts.” It is long. This progression represents their growing and emerging into themselves a little more each day. The last time waking in the middle of the night to wait up at night; the last cuddle my lap on a Saturday morning to an embrace before a “See you again soon”; the last time reading a bedtime story Mama, do you love me? Goodnight Moon or Curious George transformed to writing college essays, singing a last bedtime Brother James Aire hymn to the final performance in a “Blue Skies” musical, the last waking in the night for a fevered child to last well-child visit, to playing Littlest Pet Shop or Lego adventures to the last science project with pieces (and additional glitter) all strewn across the loved kitchen table, to the last soccer pin with a toothy smile to the last 50-yard drive at a field hockey game, and to the last day of home-pre-school on a pretend bus to the last soaring cap toss at graduation. It goes on and on. But also, these lasts are part of a continuous journey of newness. I remind myself that for each last, there are also firsts. Each memory, each blink, a gift of our life and a never-ending love.
These accounts remind me that I did not fall short. I endeavored to enjoy each day, each moment, intentionally.
My presence, always there. My commitment. My dedication. All palpable.
As a harried mother, I once told my best friend, “I can’t recall anything.” But then, she reminded me, “You will.”
In a blink, 25 years of life, love, happiness, and tears rush in like a tsunami. I remembered in an instant, a blink if you will, before launching my youngest to go to school 380 miles away, my middle daughter to her own apartment across town, and my oldest daughter, navigating a new professional job, I did not want to let go. Can’t I do this all over again? Isn’t that what Winnie the Pooh also wanted, on the last day of a golden summer? Me too.
I’ve come to realize that this is the untold parenting story. Babes in arms suddenly seem to launch to discover their new stars. Why did no one warn me of these last moments sooner? When you love so much, you also have to know this is why we raise them, to let them go, and this is why every moment, every blink counts.
Now. I will continue to be a mother, if only from afar, still cherishing each new blink in a fresh and exciting yet poignant way, at times clinging, then releasing, while vividly recollecting, carrying on the grateful voyage of our enduring family life.
My wish for you, as you enter or leave my practice, is to know that there will be lasts, even a final day of therapy. May I gently remind you that through the rough times and grins, living intentionally and being fully present is what making the connection® and embracing the child® thoughout their lifetime is all about.
Author: Stacy Sue Rosello, MA, OTR/L
Founder, Embrace the Child, ® Ltd.
Editor: Grace Anne Rosello, BA
Copyright © 2023 Stacy Sue Rosello