I feel more comfortable when I am able to shower affection. Which is, I think, why I am so drawn to babies. Someone to love and care for them is kinda all they need. But those babies grow up, and need stupid things like "freedom" and "the ability to make a mistake" and, worst of all, "a life of their own".
I work hard at practicing the whole "if you love something, set it free" principle, and I try not to get over-emotionally attached to people and things. But it is difficult for me. When I have something that I love and feel is important, I hold on tight. And not just people... for me, there is a security (that feels necessary at the time) that I feel when I keep an object that may be meaningless to anyone else. Because of a memory it becomes a part of me. (Shell topping bottle, anyone?) Luckily for Adam, I also love to purge, so our house can not be featured on Hoarders. Plus, Adam is allergic to cats, so we can not have the prerequisite 17 cat corpses.
Holding onto my children though, is like trying to hold water in my cupped hands... no matter how hard I press my hands together, the water seeps through to the other side. With time, that so annoyingly marches on, comes changes with my two kids. After fruitless years of trying, I realized that I can not stop these transitions. But instead of feeling liberated by this discovery, I was filled with fear and sadness. It sounds weird, but I have painted many beautiful moments black by thinking "It is not going to be like this forever."
Luckily, I do not walk this journey alone. I have been blessed with many great teachers in my life: Adam and my kids, my parents, my sister, my friends and my Amy. With their help, I learned that I can not control the world, but I can control my reaction to it. I can choose to either ruin the moment by fearing it's end, or I can enjoy it for what it is. I can continue to mourn the past and fear the future... or I can open my eyes to the present. It is here right now, the gift of the moment. And I don't want to waste any more by worrying about them ending.
So, the last time those little legs unhooked and ran off, I am glad I was spared the emotions of knowing that was the last time. With a bit more maturity that only comes from passing time, now I can look back and be grateful. I happily take the couch cuddles and the sick snuggles. Full disclosure: I still occasionally think, "Someday, they are going to college and I won't be able to do this!"
But I think I'll do myself a favor and worry about tomorrow tomorrow, when it becomes my new today.