“Don’t blink!” they say.
I don’t agree with They.
Blinking is an involuntary response. Humans can’t control whether or not we blink, so why fight nature?
When I open my eyes, I like it when I find something new. Life moves on. Time passes. Change occurs. Kids grow. A school year ends. A sporting season draws to a close. Awkward finds you – like when I’m busted for saying something inappropriate in front of the kids that was above their level of comprehension just yesterday.
And you know what? I love it.
They have conditioned us to believe that endings are bad. They expect us to feel sad. They associate endings with the loss of something that will be greatly missed – as though nothing else could ever fill the impending void.
They forget that with every ending also comes a new beginning. A fresh start. A different phase. A greater opportunity to learn. Experience. Know.
I love my kids, and I blink. When I open my eyes, I continue to be pleasantly surprised.
Just last summer, I thought 7,7 and 9 were my kids’ best ages yet. They could swim on their own. They packed their own suitcases. They were competent and patient travelers. It was a choice to hold hands in a parking lot, not a necessary safety precaution.
6,6 and 9 were great because they could ride their bikes with ease. Family bike rides were fun instead of infuriating.
5,5 and 7? I could watch from the beach while they had fun splashing in the lake with their life jackets on. That lounge chair never felt so good!
4, 4 and 6 – They mastered the art of pumping. They could swing even when I couldn’t push! This made us all happy!
1, 1 and 3 – They could all walk and occupy themselves for brief periods of time. They did not depend on me to fulfill every need.
But now? Now 8, 8 and 10 are my favorite.
They wake up and prepare their own breakfast. They put away their clean laundry. They accept that their rooms have to be tidied up regularly. They appreciate quality time spent together as a family, but also enjoy quiet time alone in their rooms. They make crafts without always making a mess. They apologize when they make mistakes. They love to be tickled. They fill the house with song, dance and constant piano accompaniment. They volunteer to do chores to earn money or a song they’d like to download. They love to text their distant family members and look forward to visiting them. They can volley a ball and swoosh some baskets. They check in with me when we’re out and about, because they know I’ll be worried if they don’t. They engage in captivating conversation. They care to know me as a person, not just Mom – When did I start shaving? Who was my first crush? What did I do when someone was mean to me? What’s my favorite style?
They are turning into such amazing little people. They look forward to new adventures. They are willing to try new things.
Why? Because they’re not afraid to blink. When they open their eyes, they gain independence. As a result, so do I. We share in this liberation and are happy to be present in the moment.
We look forward to the next beginning, instead of dreading the next ending. Life is as good as we make it. I embrace the greatness that lies ahead, because it feels better than dwelling on the melancholy that will get left behind.
So don’t listen to They. Go ahead and blink. You’ll be glad you did.