Have you ever stepped back and looked at your children as other’s might see them instead of how you see them in your mind’s eye?
I had the opportunity to do that the other day. Stan, the kids and I were standing and talking with old friends we used to see nearly every waking minute of our weekends, but now rarely see anymore. Back in the day when both boys played hockey and we were at the rink almost constantly we saw these friends with a regularity I couldn’t count on with my mailman. Their oldest and Zach played on the same team together for years. Our two oldest are in the same grade, in the same high school so we see them at Zach’s events, but Lucas and Claire haven’t seen these friends in two, or more, years.
And it was interesting to see the dynamic shift and morph. The last time we saw these friends Lucas was still, what I considered, to be little. He was a goofy jokester who never met a stranger. He had a little, high-pitched, squeaky voice. His hair was nearly white blond and I was still taller than he was.
I stood back the other day as Lucas interacted with our friends. He didn’t look like the little boy I still have pictured in my mind. He looked like a young man working hard to overcome a shyness that has permeated his persona. He looked our friends in the eye as he spoke to them about his plans for high school, hockey and beyond. His deep, rich voice spoke with a clarity I’m not sure he knows he has. He looked like he was striving to be exactly what he wants to be ~ a little more grown-up, self-assured and poised in the face of talking to adults. For the first time, I saw him how other’s might see him and not how I picture him in my head and I was blown away with that little bit of insight.
I don’t know why it blew me away to see Lucas as a little more mature. I’m pretty sure I always saw Zach exactly how he was or pushed him to be a little more grown-up than he actually was. But with Lucas it’s been the exact opposite. I’ve kept him in perpetuity at the age of 12 or 13. I guess I needed the opportunity to see what others see.
Stan asked me what today’s blog is all about and I sketched it out for him by saying, “It’s about seeing our kids as they really are and not what we imagine them to be.”
He responded, “Ah, it’s from Harry Potter.”
Last night we watched the first Harry Potter movie. (Shocker — Stan had never seen it before.) And as Stan said that this blog idea is from the scene in Harry Potter where he finds the Mirror of the Erised, sees his parents and is told by Dumbledore,”It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that,” it kind of hit me ~ I may have subconsciously worked a little Harry Potter into this blog. So…maybe I still want to see Lucas as my little, blond boy. Maybe that’s one of my deepest heart’s desires, to keep him little and sweet and goofy. Maybe I really didn’t want to see him as he really is. Or maybe it’s just that I hadn’t ever let myself see him as he really is. Whatever the reason, I’m happy to say I now have seen a more grown-up Lucas and couldn’t be more proud of the young man he is striving to become.
Oh, for the love of my children…