It has been said "the best gift a mother can ever give her children are roots and wings"! The first time I read that many years ago, when my boys were younger, it hit me pretty hard. My first thought was "Yes! that's what I will do" which spun into... "Wow I've got a bigger job on my hands than I thought" which quickly lead to "where do I begin"?
Fast forward to now as my boys are 14 and 18, the very proof/truth of that profound statement of "roots & wings" warms my heart with sweet gentle reminders. An example that comes to mind was last month, I was in my September cleaning mode. With kids back to school I was tackling closets to organize and "pass along" unwanted clothes, games, you name it. I'm into simplifying and keeping the house free of clutter. Really a difficult task when I'm the only one in the house that has THAT particular vision....but that's another post for another time.
Anyway, I stacked a pile of games to give away. I'm talking "Don't Break the Ice" "Connect Four" you get the idea....young games. Well, this pile of castaways was met with a resistance that truly made me smile, when my oldest son came home and protested in a playful banter. He confronted me with the question "don't you remember how much fun we have on family game night"? Well, heck yeah I remember and bless your heart son that you do too. I thought it was sweet, so I put a few of the games back and the remainder in a bag to give away. The next morning, I hear noise and commotion downstairs. My husband comes back into our room and announces our younger son was on stilts in the closet returning another game to the top shelf.
Clearly an indication that game night held a special spot in his heart as well. I should have figured as much, since one afternoon not that long ago he had brought around a contract that he had written, looking for a signature from each family member. Signing our name bound us to meeting in the living room that evening for some "family time". This was to include games, snacks and making music! He had been feeling the strain of our schedules taking us in different directions (think our being cranky with each other was a good clue) and he was looking to reconnect us. That right there is "roots" to me!
As I see it now,the initial pressure/questioning I had felt when they were younger, to instill roots, slipped away, as my husband and I parented from our hearts.... it was all happening naturally. Our boys now value family, time spent together and happily, what we each bring to the table. There are still cranky times but as I think about it now, while I'm writing this, those cranky times frequently come when they are spreading their wings!