I never could have predicted the full range of raw emotion that motherhood would elicit. Protectiveness – sure, I expected that. Yet I’m finding the line between meeting their every need and catering to their momentary wants. Watching them play, my heart swells with both excitement at the fun they’re having, at the memories being built.
Then I see the longing in his eyes as he scans the area for one of the coveted fishy squirt toys. Looking to the water, his eyes quickly survey the sad scene that all the toys have been claimed. (I can’t help but point out the full net in the background of this picture!).
Then he spies a fellow water-parker with some fishies in her net. The little expression on his face and my memory of how nonchalantly he hoped to get his hands on one of those toys, makes me want to laugh and cry. I’m so thankful and proud that he wasn’t knocking kids over to get what he wanted, yet I desperately want only the best for my precious kids. Shortly after this moment, I went on the search myself. When I returned with a terrific purple octopus, I was already awaiting the excited squeals. Much to my surprise, he dismissed it with barely a second glance and continued longing for a fish. It had to be a fish.
I realized then, though it’s a lesson I’ve far from mastered, that my role in this life, my job and awesome responsibility, isn’t always to provide the very thing that gives them temporary joy. Rather, in the face of disappointment and desire, to lead them through those impulses and toward a more lasting fulfillment. Today, these are both my very best shots.