And So, We Begin Again….
Though I was nearly the youngest in my own family even among the extended generation, I was still one of the first to become an aunt. My first nephew was almost too heavy for me to lift even at less than 7 pounds. As several others followed after him they got progressively easier to carry.
Now, nearly 40 years after that firstborn, a new generation has begun in my family and as I look back over the travails that got us to this point I have some thoughts for the new parents of this sweet gift of renewal about how we went about surviving long enough to continue the family name in the person of my newborn greatnephew….
My 9-year-old self who was an aunt for the first time held the weight of a new life in my inexperienced hands, afraid that I would drop him. He wiggled and jiggled and did his best to escape my grasp. I put him down and to my surprise, he stopped struggling. There will be times all throughout your boy’s life when you will want to give up because you can’t control his movements and in those moments you will have to let him go with your arms even as you hold him tighter with your hearts. Don’t be afraid to release him gently to the world.
There may be others who follow him and they will all be different no matter how consistent you try to be. Who they become may be in absolute defiance of what you would have wanted for them, but trust that this is who they were meant to be regardless of outcome, and understand that no circumstance, no matter how painful, is without value. Someone else’s life story relies on the whole unfolding as it must.
For you as parents, though it may sound overly dramatic, this is your first step toward obsolescence. Instead of living for yourselves, you have now stepped aside and accepted that your lives are about supporting the greater good as it manifests through your child. Your dreams, through your children, must not be played out literally but rather as wisdom. You will need to put aside your own failures and personal tragedies in order to offer up a clean slate that still bears the chalk dust of those who have gone before but stands ready for this child to make his own mark.
Share with this boy all that you are, but know at the end of the day that the most important part of who you are right now is a parent. Be kind but be firm. Be wise but be willing to learn. Be amazed and delighted, and comfort him as he struggles to grow. And for yourselves, be renewed through all that he is.
Thank you for the reminder that all of us live on through those who follow and our stories become their heritage. Let us all remember what our lives mean to others as they pick and choose their way to their own legacy. May we all be the examples of survival and triumph they need to inspire them forward.
And most of all, may your sweet young family bring you more joy than you ever imagined it could…..