As I was putzing about in my kitchen today, a song came on the radio. "Cat's in the Cradle" by Harry Chapin always makes me stop to pause and ponder. The lyrics are so significant to me, the older I get, the more the words cry out. When I first heard the song, I was about ten years old. Although I liked it and would sing along, the impact of those words didn't truly hit me at that time. Hey, I was only TEN! Today, as I stood there stirring the food I had cooking, I bawled. I mean, runny nose, couldn't even talk bawled!
I will be 54 years old in a few months. I am past the halfway point in my life. When my own firstborn son turned 16, I listened to this song and yes, it spoke to me then, of a boy becoming too busy growing up to take time to talk to his father. I switched "dad" to "mom", and the words still haunt me. The last lyrics speak of a now grown man whose kids are too sick and his job keeping him too busy to come home. My own son is now the same: a fourth child on the way, his job keeps him busy and I have moved three hours from him. I think of him often, of his own struggles, cheers and responsibilities and yes, he's grown up just like me. My boy is just like me.
I am so proud.
And I cry.
I think about the Holy Family at this time of the year, especially also, with Christmas just a few days past. Of how Joseph was pretty much lured into the plans that God had for him and, with nothing more than faith to guide him, he too watched as Jesus was born, grew from a small boy to a young man and then...?
Scripture doesn't tell us anything more than that and I wonder, why? Scripture DOES tell us, however that Mary pondered on all these things, treasuring them within her heart. As a mom, I fully understand this as well. And now, as I grow older, I treasure them even more than ever. If I could have a wish, I'd wish for the times when my kids were still very young; the days when we'd play in the sandbox, when we'd snuggle at night reading the book, "I Love You Forever," the days we'd go out once a month and eat pizza at a restaurant and they would tell me all their secrets. I'd want this because, for me, that was the greatest triumph of my life: watching my kids grow, nurturing them, even on those days when they'd be grumpy and want to sleep in on a school day, or the days when I'd nag them to do homework or take out the trash and yes, the days when they'd be too sick to eat and I'd fret as I wiped their fevered brows.
As the new year approaches, my only wish now is for the time to slow down a little bit more so that I can treasure the moments with my kids even as they continue to grow and move forward in their lives.
May God be with you all...and go hug that child of yours, even if they are all grown up.