Rated PG- Parental Guidance is advised
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about when Mio grows up. Right now, at 7, he urges me to go with him to his classmates’ parties, to arrange play dates for him, to do stuff with him. And sometimes, I admit, I take it for granted, especially when I’m busy at work or tired from it. It makes me think about the things he needs me for, and the things he WANTS me to actually be part of, and right now, there’s no clear distinction. I can’t help but wonder, as he’s growing into his own person, at what point will he stop asking me to put him to bed, to pray with him, to eat with him and whatnot?
There are times when the needing gets to be too much. Like when I’ve already put him to bed and he keeps calling me back, or when I’m on a deadline and he keeps calling out from his room for little bouts of attention that I can’t afford to give at the moment. Those times test my patience as a parent, and admittedly sometimes I fall short. But knowing that there’s a looming deadline for his unwavering desire to be around me, or to be more accurate, to have me around, I get torn when faced with these seemingly small details of the day. I know it’s inevitable that he would slowly pull away as he grows up. Heck, he’s already told me not to kiss him in public. The thought both frightens me and makes me proud.
I think one secret to being a good parent is to never lose sight of how you were when you were your child’s age. It’s scary to think about it in those terms because then you’d have to trust that your child makes the right decisions, with your hindsight serving only as guidance and not an answer key. For this reason, I have dug up stages of my life that make me smile, cringe, and send shivers down my spine. I’ve plucked out the milestones—first day of school (check), first milk tooth falling (check), the first heartbreak (playground “friendship-overs”, check), first academic award (check)—then I thought about the bigger stuff like Confirmation, grade school graduation, and the high school prom! This last one stumps me for a longer while. What do boys do when the prom season is abound? Surely it’s not about finding the perfect prom dresses like we girls worried about back then. Then it began to unnerve me, all the movies about prom nights and all the pressure that goes with it. I can only hope that Mio will let me sleep soundly when the time comes.
After high school comes the road test for your life ahead. The first defining crossroads—college. Right now, Mio is dead-set on becoming a basketball player; a feat well within his reach as far as his basketball training is concerned. He’s already been asking what college is about, and I tell him not to worry about it yet because it’s still far ahead. But every time he asks me about that part of the future, I can’t help but think, “Is it really that far from today?”
Every day, he grows smarter, stronger, and healthier. Every day, he’s a step closer to becoming the man I’m raising him to be—kind, compassionate, and God-fearing. Like the cliché suggests, nothing is permanent, and we’re constantly changing. But one thing’s for sure, he’s still my baby, more today than tomorrow, but my baby nonetheless, and that makes all the future worries fade away into the horizon.