Margaret Atwood once said, "But how can you have a sense of wonder if you're prepared for everything?" This quote is, to me, at the crux of parenting. On the one hand, to be prepared for every eventuality is sanity-saving. On the other hand, to sit in wonder at the beauty and mystery of the child of your heart is transcendent.
Nineteen years ago today Ty was born. He was my biggest baby and my firstborn son. I felt like, in him, I had a tangible piece of Chris, a masculine part of him that brought me pride. Today, almost two decades later, as I am fast approaching my middle 40's, we celebrated.
I am a planner, a scheduler, a problem solver. I researched parks we could picnic in, museums we could visit, activities we could do. I made lists and sent out texts. I stayed up late last night and cooked and prepared dessert. And in my secret heart, I longed for a few quiet moments of heart to heart conversation and connection.
The park was closed and under construction. The museums were going to take too long, but Ty had his own idea... Shakalaka, a trampoline center. Did I mention I am forty-three? I contemplated sitting out. I weighed the risks of injury to myself or my pride. Then I looked at my son.
He is no longer a chubby baby, or a mischievous and destructive toddler, or the serious adolescent. He is a stunningly handsome, fun-loving, strong, smart man. His eyes were shining with delight at the idea of bouncing and he was so happy to be doing it with the ones who know and love him best.
I had a choice. I chose to enter into the wonder. To remember the thrill of flying. To not be a middle-aged woman. I did flips. I climbed walls and stepped from swing to swing. I bounced from trampoline to trampoline. I entered into the Ty's sense of excitement and wonder and instead of watching it from the fence, I participated. It. Was. Amazing.
In that one shining hour, I was my children's playmate again. I ran from activity to activity. I cheered when they succeeded and smiled as they cheered for me. On this, Ty's 19th birthday, I got to play with him again.
Ty brings out the best in people. He draws people in; he had a couple of fans follow him around today. Ty makes people laugh; even the bored employees cheered for him. Ty is thoughtful; he kept an eye on everyone and suggested some recovery time at his dorm. Ty is brilliant; he can talk about black holes, music,
and spiritual things in the space of five minutes. Ty makes people better for having been around him.
He is a joy to be around and I am deeply aware of the privilege it is to be his mother. I am glad that I could witness his joy today and that I could join in. I pray that he never loses his sense of wonder. Not even at 43.