Monday, September 17, 2012

Parenthood::My Favorite Scene from Last Week

"She'll never live here again."  
- Christina from Parenthood

Maybe it's because my baby is turning thirteen in a few days, but when Christina spoke those words about her graduating daughter my eyes filled up with heavy tears.  "She'll never live here again."  There's a time when Anson will go, and no matter if he's home for holidays or summers - I know.  It will never be the same.  The door to this segment of life we've known as parents will be closed - sealed - there is no opening it again.

Did anyone else's heart ache watching Haddie stand in front of her timeline?  Seeing her life - past through present, boiled down and simplified?  I found it a little hard to breathe realizing that life is kind of like that - flashes of memories and events.  "I hope as Anson looks back - those memories - the collection of moments that seem to surface - are mostly good.  Mostly beautiful.  Mostly full of love."

When Haddie blew her parents off in the airport, I could see - her struggle to know how to be independent.  How much is too much?  This season in her life becoming real.  Realizing she doesn't yet know the exact distance to push away.  How far is too far, how far is still too close?

When Haddie turned back, with teary eyes and a quivering lip to bury her face in her parents' arms, I lost it.  Did you?  I could not help but fast forward my mind to that same moment when we stand on the cliff of this new season with Anson.  In this moment right here - right now - it seems like parenting is a constant exercise in teaching, training, talking, discussing, deciding, and trying to understand and listen.  There are so many dreams I have for our children.  Dreams that include turning four young men out into this unpredictable, beautiful world filled with faith and the skills they need to continue to learn and grow.  I want them to not only know how to diagram a compound-complex sentence, fold towels, scramble eggs, and know how to be a good friend, but to also know the importance of hope, grace, and forgiveness.  Sometimes everything I want them to know seems too big - too much - mostly because I don't know how to do all of those things very well myself.

Watching Haddie turn and make a run for her parents - seeing the three of them simultaneously grieve and celebrate the moment when everything changes - I was reminded of how simple the goal really should be.


I don't know about you, but I can feel overwhelmed at times with all the to-do's of parenting.  The list of what needs to be accomplished seems never ending.  "Don't lock the keys in the car."  "Pick up your dirty clothes."  "Don't leave dad's tools outside."  "Feed the cat."  "Take out the trash."  "Don't forget to put a new bag in the trash can."  "This is how you make a cursive g."  "Go read."  "Do your math."  "Do you have everything you need for school today?"  "Yes.  People really brush their teeth this often." "You're wearing two different socks."  "Your shirt is on backwards."  "For the five hundredth time - don't leave food in your back pack."  "It doesn't seem like you were being very kind to your brother." "Don't follow the crowd."  "Who cares what they think."  "You are beautiful and perfect just like you are."  "Don't make comments about someone's appearance."  "How do you think that made her feel?"  "You can't flush that."  "You can't put that in the microwave." "Money can make people do terrible things."  "Sometimes the only reason we can forgive is because we've been forgiven for so much."

Sure - it would be great if half of what I feel busy teaching our kids would make itself at home in their souls, but isn't what I want most for our kids is for them to walk away from this season at home knowing they are deeply loved. More than the lessons about life, and even more than the lessons about faith - shouldn't love be the banner over it all?

Doesn't love cover a multitude of mess-ups?  Won't love cover up all the lessons we forgot to teach and the ones we taught all wrong?  If love is the goal, then won't these days feel less like a constant countdown and more like an incredible, daily opportunity?

If love is the focus, isn't there always an open door - always time to continue to support and speak into our children's lives even after they go?  Doesn't love offer the perfect environment for faith to grow?  If there's love - won't there be time to continue to learn from our children?  With love, is the door ever really closed?

Maybe it's because Anson is turning 13 in a few days.  Maybe I saw us standing in that airport with our oldest child.  Maybe watching Haddie wrapped up tight in her parents' arms - it hit me hard and heavy - if we simply send Anson out knowing he's loved - he's valuable - then what else is there, really?  Maybe it's because for a brief moment I think I saw God's heart towards us - and it didn't look like a heart filled with to-do lists, books to read, or a record of where we're failing.  It looked like teary-eyed-I've loved you all of your days kind of love.  I can't put my finger on why exactly, but I know I walked away from last week's Parenthood less stressed about the details and more eager to simply spend these last few years with Anson making sure he knows how much we love him.

Other Posts from Parenthood:

 I Take All My Advice from Parenthood, and that's not Weird at All.



Lauren said...

My baby is only 4 months old and I still cried at that scene! I would have been so sad if she didn't turn back!

Alanna said...

Amen. Those were exactly my two favorite scenes too. I actually thought the one with her lifeline spelled out was so beautiful that I should do that with each of my kids when they leave home, but then I have no idea if I'll be able to - unless "tear stained" counts as a type of stationary that's acceptable to use as a background. :) Totally bawled at the end. That's me in 3 1/2 years. I loved how Christine was trying so hard to make it the perfect week, but then life happened and it wasn't and she was just trying to grasp at those moments we all want to savor, but somehow slip through our fingers. We want to wrap up life and make it grand so we can hold it, but it's meant to live... each moment continuing on into the next without us stopping at the last one, never moving on. Such a wonderful example of how life is - a grieving celebration of actually living. Sometimes you have to grieve today to celebrate tomorrow, even when they're somehow tangled up together in the same day. Such a beautiful mess. I wouldn't trade it for anything. I so see God being just like that with us.

Side note: LOVE big families and all those type shows draw me in every.single.time. If you haven't seen the movie The Family Stone, it is a must see. I want to move in with them every time I watch it.

Sandy said...

Grieving and celebrating are exactly the right words. We are sending our only child (a daughter) off to college this week. We know that we are still her parents and that our job as parents is not over yet. We are happy and sad all at the same time. Dual emotions are such a big part of life.
And yes, I sobbed my eyes out at that scene.

Amanda @ wandering said...

"With love, is the door ever really closed?" Oh, what a comforting reminder.

(And I cried w/ the Hattie scene remembering my own good-byes to college and than "real" adulthood moving across the country, and thinking of future good-byes with my babies.)

averagemoreorless said...

"In this moment right here - right now - it seems like parenting is a constant exercise in teaching, training, talking, discussing, deciding, and trying to understand and listen. There are so many dreams I have for our children. Dreams that include turning four young men out into this unpredictable, beautiful world filled with faith and the skills they need to continue to learn and grow. I want them to not only know how to diagram a compound-complex sentence, fold towels, scramble eggs, and know how to be a good friend, but to also know the importance of hope, grace, and forgiveness. Sometimes everything I want them to know seems too big - too much - mostly because I don't know how to do all of those things very well myself."

You've spoken for my heart. I have an almost-13 year old son, a 10 year old daughter and a 7 year old daughter; everything from supper to passing comments in the hallway become teaching moments. It's both exhausting and exhilarating.

BTW: My husband and I are catching up on all the Parenthood we’ve missed thus far (Netflix streaming!) thanks in part to the discovery of your blog. Yay You!

Alicia G said...

Love your blog for many reasons & love of Parenthood is one :) This episode stirred up a lot for me as it reminded me again of how hard it is to let go. It's such a period of adjustment. A couple years ago I sat down and wrote about how I was feeling as my last was leaving, so thought I'd share...
Some memories are so vivid it’s almost like time travel; those moments when you can so clearly picture yourself at a different point in your life. I’ve been having a lot of these time travel moments lately like…Holding Madelyn in my arms for the first time…Kissing Kate’s little baby feet…Watching Lyndie sleep contentedly…Mark and I at the dinner table with all the girls talking at once…Playing charades by candlelight when the power went out…Arguing in the van over what to name the new puppy.

All this reminiscing is due to the fact that I am in the season of watching as my children leave the nest…growing, searching, stretching, learning, hurting, and experiencing joy. It’s a season that just invites reflection and it’s a process that is equal parts beautiful, painful and joyful.

Beautiful because this is how it’s supposed to be – the young babies we brought home are no longer babies or so dependent. They have grown strong and they are busy testing out their wings and experiencing life on their own. This is what we wanted, after all; what we’ve planned for, prayed for, and it has been an amazing privilege to watch it all happen.

Painful because not only can’t I shield them from the inevitable bumps, bruises, mistakes or broken hearts, but also because I look back and can see my own shortcomings. Wishing I could have added at least one more encouraging word and erased every time when I was too busy to listen or when I just wasn’t there for them.

Joyful because of who they have become and who they are becoming; beautiful inside and out. Joyful because I now have the opportunity to know them as an adult and as a friend - not just as mom (although the mom thing never really ends).

Looking forward I am also filled with hope and expectation. Their stories (and mine) are not complete, this is only the beginning. There are wonderful times to come. Yes, struggles will come and will go, but whatever struggles they may face, they will not face them alone. And just like the butterfly in the cocoon those struggles are what allow them to grow strong enough to fly. I have learned this in my own life and I just wonder if I was able to pass that lesson along in a meaningful way. I am hoping that they know how truly loved and special they each are…and that great things are just around the corner.

Jewel said...

I love that show. So wonderful... somehow they hit the nail on the head when it comes to real life. So for some comedic releif I have to say I it will be so much sadder if she does stay home forever LOL Hugs!

Nicky B said...

I loved your post and reposted a quote with a link back to you on my own blog as it perfectly with my own reflections. People loved your piece!!

karamurano said...

I LOVE this post! it is so very true that our kids need to know they are loved & valuable probably more than anything else we can give/teach them. I definitely cried reading this! thanks for sharing

Melda said...

I'm behind on your blog and posting because I saw too many Parenthood topics and was afraid there was a spoiler in there....

So....just watched the two episodes from 9-11 and 9-18 and as always - I cried during both.

I have seen every episode of the show and like it for many reasons. I grew up with extended family like the Bravermans. There were ups and downs and times someone was mad at someone else....but it all worked out and broken fences were always mended.

As a parent of a kid with Asperger's - I can relate to Christina and Adam / Max. Although sometimes I think Max's behavior is a little more "Hollywood" than most Aspie kids.... a lot of things are right on. The hardest for me was when Hattie was trying to tell Max she would miss him / she loved him. We get that apathetic response all the time.... and he will never leave for college and run back for a hug. In fact, he will tell you that he doesn't like to be hugged....
It's harder than you think to love someone unconditionally when you don't feel the love returned.... even your own child. But love is an action, not always an emotion - and we keep loving and showing love. (*clearly the photographer is also an Aspie.... )

I also like Zeke a lot - reminds me of my own grandpa. Rough around the edges, but he means well.

I can relate to Joel and Julia taking in an older child and trying to find the balance between making them feel welcome and still following the rules that the rest of the kids are required to follow. They have to learn to trust, to be honest know that you are trustworthy and honest too.

I could really go on and on...but the writers of Parenthood are excellent at hitting close to home in some area of my life every week.

Lila said...

rmeybruOh my gosh, I was sobbing at the timeline and when she left for college. Tears are forming in my eyes as I type this! I'm just way too sensitive these days though. My son is 8.5 years old and thinking of him leaving for college is overwhelming.

M Rebecca B Karlowicz said...

Such a beautiful sentiment, and so well-written (you have a really nice writing style!).
My daughter is only 2 and I completely lost it during this episode. In fact, I can't think of an episode all season where I haven't shed a happy or sad tear. Parenthood has such a way of getting to all of us!