My eldest turned 17 on Sunday. What? How on earth did we get here? Which is what I was thinking, as I waived him off on his first driving lesson, while hiding my leaking eyes (which would’ve ignited eye rolls, if spotted).
Every time one of my kids celebrates a birthday, I’m reminded that nothing stays the same; that everything is impermanent. I wonder how a whole year has already gone by? How did they get so big? And so quickly?
I feel a weird mix of simultaneously mourning them being little and loving & embracing the new age that they now are.
When we practice mindfulness, the emphasis is to be more in the present moment, rather than being in the past or future. While this is true, I sometimes think it’s misunderstood. We’re not supposed to be ONLY in the present moment.
Reflecting about the past is really important and so useful. Thinking about and planning the future is also incredibly important. Think how chaotic it would be if we didn’t!
What we want to avoid is getting STUCK in the past or future. Regurgitating thoughts about the past can lead to us feeling low or depressed and constantly worrying about the future, can make us feel anxious.
My kid’s birthdays always remind me that it’s ok to wallow a bit in the past and to visit/plan the future, as long as we don’t get stuck there. We need instead to RETURN to the present, as this is where we’re actually living and where we have the most influence.
So, whilst I really love thinking back to when my kids were little, I also always genuinely adore the age they are right now. It’s just new and less familiar.
My eldest is now 17. What does that look like? Who is he now? What are his needs? How does our relationship and my role as his mum change? It feels exciting.
And birthdays are a reminder of how precious time is. We don’t get to borrow our children for long.