I am sitting in the lobby of Gabe’s music school with Sydney and Taylor. Gabe has piano for an hour (30 minutes of lab and 30 minutes of lessons) every Monday evening. We only live 5 minutes away so, usually, the girls and I drop him off at 5, and come back to pick him up at 6. But, today, he asked if I would wait inside for him. When I started to object, he looked disappointed.
I asked, “Why do you want me to wait today, Honey?”
“Because, sometimes when I’m there I feel lonely,” he answered honestly.
And, even though the idea of entertaining the girls for an entire hour in the teeny-tiny lobby seemed like a headache, my mind flashed back to some 20 years ago. As a kid, I remember being dropped off at the gym every night. Most nights it wasn’t a big deal that my Mom didn’t stay and watch practice. I got it. I knew 3 hours was an unreasonable amount of time to expect her to sit there and watch me. I knew she had other things to do, like run my big brother to his activities, clean the house, cook dinner, etc. I understood that a three hour practice, each and every night, was just plain boring to sit through.
But, I also remember loving it when she did stay to watch me, even if it was only for 20 or 30 minutes. I remember how excited I got when she happened to get there early before practice let out. I always felt more secure when she was there. Being at gymnastics didn’t seem like such a chore when she was there to support me.
As a result of my own childhood, when Gabe told me he felt lonely at practice, I could relate. Therefore, I loaded up the girls, packed their DS’s, and we all attended piano together.
So, that’s one of my goals as a Mom: to never forget what it felt like to be a kid. Whether it’s sitting through piano, finding a failed test in a backpack, respecting their first crush, understanding the impact of that first kiss (among other things,) finding out they took their first drink, nursing that first hang-over, consoling their first heart-break, or enduring public humiliation for a poor, spontaneous choice…I hope to be able to do what I did tonight: Pause long enough to remember what it felt like some 20 years ago, take that into consideration, and then react accordingly and fairly.
I’m not looking to be their best friend. My hope is that if I make a conscious effort to find empathy during their most serious and important moments, rather than dismissing their feelings because “they’re just kids,” I might have a shot at having an open, honest and trusting relationship with them. And when the big situations arise, I hope to have demonstrated enough compassion along the way for them to seek my guidance and learn to trust my experience.