Monday, July 2, 2007

while waiting in line

i am a people watcher. i often find myself watching parent/child interactions with fascination. it goes something like this...

i was standing in line the other day and there was a father and his young son in front of me. it was fun to watch the two of them because the little boy was so cute and the two of them were playing little games and talking to each other as only a daddy and his little boy can. it was obvious that they loved each other and having fun with each other. it sure made waiting in line more tolerable.

but i couldn't help but wonder what that little boy was going to look like and act like when he got older. at what point would things change? at what point will the son not want to talk to his dad anymore? at what point will the dad find he has more important things to do than play with his son? at what point will the two of them fail to remember the games they played and the conversations they had when there was nothing as important in life but wait in a line together?

would it be all of a sudden? no, if you're a parent you know it's a gradual thing. it just seems like it happens over night. maybe that point will never come with these two. i can only hope.

as i left the line (my business was done) and walked out of the building, i saw a couple boys sitting on the curb. i'm not judging here, just trying to paint a picture for you. they were wearing all black and their hair was long, black and styled in an interesting fashion. they had piercings. they were both smoking cigarettes.

i couldn't help but contrast them to the little boy i had just seen. i tried to picture these two teenagers as little boys. what did their relationship with their dads look like when they were young? probably much like i had just seen. again, at what point did it change? why did it change?

the other day i was watching a mother with three children - two of them girls. they seemed to be normal little girls but as i watched them (yes, i was in a line again), it became apparent that there was a mean streak in them. they must have been around the ages of 6 and 8, and already, they were being mean to each other, and not just the normal sisterly meanness. i couldn't help but imagine them in middle school, when that meaness will be at it's peak and countless victims will be affected.

the point to this post? i don't know. i guess i just want to encourage any young parent out there. try to treasure every minute with your child... even those while standing in a never-ending line. and to also offer the insight of the reality that your child will go through those points of change. these phases are normal and needed.

my advice... don't let them go through these phases by themselves. go through them with them, and with your eyes wide open. they need you with every step they take. and at some point, they'll be able to thank you.

link of the day:


Jamey said...

I always wonder what my kids will be like as they grow...and how to not let them go through those phases alone. I had a rough time and went through a pretty rebelious stage and wouldn't let my parents go through it with me. I don't want that for my kids, but I'm also not sure how to prevent it. Like everyone, I think I am trying to do things a little different than my parents did, correct the things that I thought they were doing wrong when I was a teenager. I have to admit I am more than a little afraid of the teenage years. I think it's good advice to try to go through these phases with them, I just hope I am creating the kind of relationships that will enable that. From a young parent, thanks for the advice to treasure every moment. I've already learned that it goes so fast, but we all need a little reminder from someone who has been there!!

jennifer said...

Wow, great post! I love that you can make mundane line waiting into a study.

I love to watch the same innocence, the same love.

I think you hit right on it, we need to stand by our children during these phases. Support them and when they become parents become the strength for them to lean on.

Lori B said...

Thanks for the great reminder to treasure every moment.
It is so important to be there for your kids everyday. I do believe it does make a difference.
I wonder what my kids will be like when they get older too.

Penless Thoughts said...

"at some point, they'll be able to thank you."

Some times that is awhile in coming but it will come if you've layed the foundation of love.

barb said...

Reminds me of "roots and wings."