As my son gets older, I miss the little things. I miss him crawling into my lap to watch cartoons. I miss his little hand reaching up to hold mine when we were walking somewhere. I miss hearing him giggle when we would tickle him. But it doesn’t have to be the truly beautiful things in life that you miss. I miss quickening in the middle of the night. You know, that springing into action. The sprinting down the hall to his bedroom to see why he was yelling out ‘Dad!’ I think that that’s because you know that at that moment, that he knows that he is safe because you are there to protect him. Whether it was an upset stomach or a bad dream, it was important for him to know that you were there for him. You can’t always be there with them though. Even though the controlling part of you as a parent wants to be. They have to grow up. They have to develop and most of all, they will know pain. Their first love will break up with them. Someone will call them a name. We can’t protect them from the ever changing world.
The one thing that I have always wanted to ensure in Daniel was the knowledge that he was loved. True parental love is a multifaceted tool at which some parents, regretfully fail. Parental love consists of a warm smile or friendly look at which the child can feel empathy and good nature. The physical affection felt through a hug or kiss. A parent must be attuned and responsiveness to the child’s needs. Now I know that not all parents are huggers or show their emotions in that way; just ensure that your kid knows that you love them. Now you condescending parents who are scoffing at those parents who don’t show love like ‘we’ do, I’m sure that every one of ‘us’ did things perfectly. Right? Wrong! I have witnessed well-meaning parents insensitively scolding their child for missing a ball during a game or ignoring a playful moment that left the child scarred and hurt. Now before you get on the defense, I’ll tell you that most of us, as parents, are telling the truth when we say that we’re doing the best we can. Sometimes that dad at the ball field has the best intentions when he yells at his son for not swinging the right way or the mother who scolds her daughter for not pivoting her foot right during a pirouette.
We will make mistakes as parents, just like our parents made mistakes with us. But it is important for our children’s future to not view our children as our replicas; and we must properly externalize the components that will positively affect our children. Remember that your good intentions are not a substitute for love. Being able to throw a football is not more important than the love that you see in your child’s eyes. As the Beatles said, “All you need is love.” Because when you truly love your child…everything else will fall into place.