So I might be a helicopter parent. A little bit hovery with a tad of overwhelming to boot. What’s it to you?
I will admit it: I’ve done it again. Overstayed my welcome and got myself kicked out of camp. And all for the sake of saying one too many goodbyes and maybe re-checking that the Happy Camper’s got everything he needs for his week away from Heli-Mom. (I realize that could be changed around to be read in another way. Heli- for helipcopter, Peeps. And maybe I am guilty as charged of asking, “should I help you with that sleeping bag before I go?” and then maybe guilty again of just wanting to get that comforting vibe from the unspoken undercurrents that “everything’s gonna be okay.”
So I admit it: I am that Mom.
The camp director actually came stridently to the van to ensure that I was indeed on my way out. (Love you Lil Bro’. You’re time is a’comin’ one of these days. Soon and very soon, you’ll get this gig.) I assured him we were leaving. A little miffed, mind you. There was one other Mom still there videotaping her child as she stepped out onto the grounds for the first time. Why didn’t I think of that?
I recently read that motherhood gets better. So, if it really bites the big one for any of us right at this moment, take heart, me hearties: it apparently gets better. Rumour has it that it especially gets better for those Moms and Dads who send their kids off to school in the fall because they no longer have children to watch around the clock. One blogger I recently read from was exhorting those of us parents who still have to live with our kids 24/7 that school is the ticket to freedom. Except, Honey. I am that ticket: I’m quite possibly your kid’s teacher. It might get better for her, but not like she thinks it will for me.
Here’s the thing: it doesn’t really get any better. If we think it will, we are fooling ourselves. We are all on a journey of a lifetime and in that journey, we often can’t see what’s around the bend. But we can see what’s right in front of our faces. And it doesn’t get any better than that, my friends. It doesn’t get much better than this very moment you are living. Right now. This moment is your present. It is a gift. Enjoy it for the complex beauty it portrays. And see it for the potential it has to make your life rich and meaningful.
My present- my gift: this is what my life looks like right now. And it doesn’t get much better than this: splashing in the pool (even if we take five-minute breaks from time to time to explain to the Fearless Foursome that others in the campground might not particularly enjoy their screams and whines for the three pool toys snagged for an afternoon’s entertainment; so would they ‘kindly keep it down’. Or else.) Reading a book for the pleasure of it in the middle of the afternoon. Eating ooey, gooey good s’mores. Having smoothies for supper. Heading to the beach on the sunny days. Having time to watch your child do a back handspring. Over and over and over. Talking late into the night over a smoldering campfire. Sleeping in on those lazy days. Just because.
It doesn’t get much better than that. This present is the gift of time and freedom.
But it doesn’t get any better when we get back to life routine either. Because it is the very moment we are in at that given time as well. Those moments: they will be the present when they return to us once more and as such, they will be the best moments we can aspire to. They will be the present of familiarity and order. Of routine and organization. Every present is a gift. It’s how we perceive the gift that makes all the difference.
The thing about presents is you have to receive them. You have to take them for what they are. They are something to be enjoyed. Appreciated. Something to be used to the fullest- indulged. Because the presents that are to come will one day be those moments that are right beneath our feet, those moments right underneath our noses that are calling strongly to our hearts. Because living in the present is all we have. It’s all we need. And it is the best. It is the very best that moment can offer us as a gift. For each moment we have to live and breathe is certainly enough. Does life in all its messy glory really need to get better when what we have right now is already good enough?
I will certainly need to remind myself of this when I am running thirteen ways to Sunday in the dead middle of the Fall/Winter rush. I will need to remind myself again. When I am heading off to hockey games, lacing up skates for figure skating practices and sorting through papers in various lunch bags. I will need to remind myself that it doesn’t get better than this. Four healthy kids and a vibrant, beautiful life to live.
It doesn’t really get much better than this for those of us parents who are looking for a better day ahead. Those better days are right now.