Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Zeitgeist of Parenthood

by Lisa Hughey

The meaning of Zeitgeist is in the spirit of time. And okay, I admit, I had to look it up. Generally I believe the spirit of the time is more broad, such as the Gay 90's (1890's) or the post 9/11 the patriotism that ran heavily through our hearts and country. But the term can be applied to any place (the artiste community in Paris during the 1920's)...

...or even be whittled down to a specific family or person and a specific moment in time.

My oldest son is preparing to leave for college soon. Actually I’m preparing for him to be gone. He can’t wait. I understand and I’m honestly thrilled that he is excited to embrace the change and a new place and a new state of being. So for the summer we exist in this awkward state of limbo. Not parent, child anymore but not yet adult, adult. He hasn’t left yet but he’s already gone. And I live each day knowing soon, life will be different. Soon. But not yet.

In reality, we’ve been preparing for this day since we brought him home from the hospital. Helping him walk, catching him when he fell, kissing his boo-boo’s better and then teaching him to get back up again. Teaching please, thank you, good words, bad words, punctuation, math, dinosaurs and chemistry experiments. Life lessons: don’t touch the hot stove, consequences of missing deadlines and forgetting your homework. Heart lessons: that first rejection and living through the ache, with him and for him.

The pride of his accomplishments, overcoming dyslexia, discovering a passion for rugby,

This is his favorite picture from last season, a conquering bloody warrior :)

graduating from high school. Perseverance. Endurance. Every single moment has been building toward his leaving our nest to become an adult. The Zeitgeist of Parenthood narrows down to one small click of the dorm door lock after he says goodbye, eager to begin his new life, standing alone, standing proud. I know it's time, I know he's ready, but when I think of him leaving...my heart is so full of love the pressure is a physical ache in my chest.

It’s been an amazing journey, funny, frustrating, rewarding, exhilarating and heartbreaking, sometimes all at once. And I know it’s never over. The Zeitgeist of Parenthood can be summed up with three simple words: hope, pride, love.

We love you, buddy. And we'll miss you.


Rachael Herron said...

Awwww. This is awesome. A great use of Zeitgeist (and I had to look it up, too).

L.G.C. Smith said...

Lovely. The first time I saw that child he was three and a half, I think. Lisa, you were probably 20 (well, you looked like you were). Congratulations on getting one this far.

Juliet Blackwell said...

"Amazing" is the right word for the whole process. As I watch my own son becoming a man, heading off to college, with his very own dreams and ideas and concerns that have nothing to do with his mommy, I, too, and filled with hope, pride, and love. My heart swells.

Unknown said...

J--I have moments where I just tear up thinking about him leaving, mostly because I'm excited for him :) we can commiserate together when we're missing them terribly :)

L--when you look at adolescence, most especially the teen years, it is a wonder that they survive without being eaten :)

R--thanks! Glad to know I'm not the only one. I *love* the word Zeitgeist, it has such presence especially when read aloud. :)

Sophie Littlefield said...

oh I love that picture of him!!! you had me all sniffly and sobby. I just can't believe the first of our collective brood is off to start his life outside the nest. Wonderful post.

Mysti Lou said...

This beautiful line made me feel what this must be like, even though I've no kids of my own--

"He hasn’t left yet but he’s already gone."

You guys sound like the best moms in the world. No wonder your kids are ready for Out There ;)

Unknown said...

Aw thanks :) I have no idea if I'm a good mom, all I can do is try my best. Parenthood is definitely a crazy ride.

Sophie-I love the picture too. Mostly because he loves it. :)

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