Charlie got his braces yesterday. He was nervous because some friends had been telling him about the pain. Christian and I were nervous because of, well, everything. We’ve never had braces. We didn’t want Charlie to be in pain. Again, caught up in all the unknowns of another completely new parenting situation we’ve encountered during the last 13 years.
After an hour or so, Charlie came out into the waiting room. Slow motion. There he was. This beautiful, unique human being. Had he grown up during that hour-long session in the orthodontist’s chair? How was that exactly possible? I watched him coming towards us. He smiled. Wow. Look at him. Look at his five-foot tall body. Look at how his face is changing. Look at how he looks at us. Look at it all.
How did this happen? Not, how did this happen that we have a 12 year old kid and he’s all grown up? I mean – how did this shining light appear in front of me? How had I missed this?
I was somehow watching the three of us from afar. Christian, Charlie and myself. There we were. There was nothing missing. There was nothing that needed to be done. There was nothing else. And there was our kid, just there, in all his fantastic human being-ness. This kid who is one in seven billion. He has it all. And so do I. And so do you. And so do we all.
There’s a light. And it’s held by a body. And when I’m able to put aside all the hustle of our everyday existence – the grades, the achievements, the comparisons, the “you need to do this for your kid”, the doing, doing, doing of all the things that need to get done, done, done because we’re trying to be good parents. Beyond all of that, underneath, weighed down, covered, there is a being full of light. A living, breathing angel that needs only one thing from us – pure, uninhibited love.
And then I think to myself – what are we doing? What are we doing to our kids? What are we doing to ourselves? The pressure, the shoulds, the competition. They don’t need it. They don’t need any of it. What they need is to be able to look back at us and know, without a doubt, that we see their light.
How do you see me, mom? What do I look like to you?
I can see it now. And it’s so amazingly bright.