Precious moments

Barb 05My friend Barb is a single mother and works full time. You may remember her from our Earth Day post, when she made us the great planet illustration. She made this illustration too.

This week, as we round out May – which we devoted entirely to moms On Fatherhood – Barb reminds us that the quiet moments are the ones that matter most. And although parenting is challenging, we mustn’t forget that all too soon, it will be over and our children will have left our sides forever.

This is Barb, on being a single mom and cherishing the precious moments:

_________________________

Barb 01Like any other mother, I lead a fairly hectic and heckled life between making sure my three-year-old daughter Katrina has a balanced meal three times a day, washes her hands, says please and thank you, and puts her shoes on the right feet.

It was during one of the latter moments that I had a startling epiphany.

My daughter was attempting to put on a new pair of Sleeping Beauty sandals given to her by the mother of a little girl who had outgrown them. I watched quietly as Katrina first put them on the wrong feet, left on right and right on left, then she decided they were wrong and set about to fix it. Even in the utterly simplicity of the task, Katrina was talking to herself, verbalizing the mistake in order to reaffirm the idea of which shoe goes where. When she was done, she was mighty pleased with herself, even giving herself a little clap for a job well done.

Barb 04And then I realized that I am going to lose her.

I am a single mother serving in the United States Coast Guard. Not only do I play the role of ”mommy”, but I must also fill the shoes of “daddy”. So this epiphany did not strike me as a singular, one-day-she-will-fly-the-nest kind of moment, but I experienced it as an almost a death-like loss.

One day, Katrina will fly the nest. No longer will she need me to remind her of which shoe goes on which foot, or how to sit properly at a table. Soon she will need help with school work, then with picking out just the perfect gown for her prom, and finally what kind of wedding dress to have for her big day. And I will have lost that little girl who I wake up every morning at 6:30 a.m., fix her Fruit Loops and apple juice while talking through her ABC’s and 123’s.

These moments are precious to me.

Even the moments, when she wakes me up in the middle of the night when she has a “little accident,” (even when I have to be up at 5:30 a.m. to make the ferry into work,) are special.

Or when she jumps in that puddle after I just bought her those new shoes. Or the countless bumps, scrapes and falls she endures while growing up.

After my epiphany, of knowing she’ll someday be gone, I had to call my own mother. In a very reserved and quiet tone, (which is not like me) I told her what I had come to realize about being a mother.

Having grown up with three siblings who are all about my same age, my mother reminded me that not only did she have this feeling to deal with, but she had it four times over, with all her children flying the nest at the same time.

Barb 03She told me to be thankful I realized it now, and in so doing, she said, “Cherish every moment you have with her now. Cherish every precious little moment. It can be the most trying, most frustrating, most tiring time of your entire life, but one day she will be too big to pick up, and she won’t come running to you when she feels upset. One day she will come to you, look at you with a big grin and say, ‘Guess what, mom? I joined the Coast Guard! I’ll be shipping out in three weeks!’”

Thanks mom. Now I know what you went through. And those are some pretty big shoes to fill.

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2 Responses to “Precious moments”

  1. Sabrina Elgammal Says:

    This post has touched me and has caused me to wake up and call my own mother today. I am not a mother yet, so I can’t really relate to this too much but it made me think about everything I have put my Mother through.

    We grow up taking little things like having that apple juice readily available every morning to us for advantage. I never looked at how my mother must have felt when she worked her butt off to raise me and then I come to her and say I joined the Coast Guard and I ship out in 2 weeks,

    I really can’t wait to be a mother myself and teach a little person how to get through life one day at a time and to have someone look up to me and watch every move I make. I really think parenting is one of the hardest jobs out there and it was this post that made me realize I never once said thank you to my mother for raising me and standing by as I flew out of the nest.

    Good post Luke and Barb!

  2. May 26, 2009 « Luke Pinneo Says:

    […] Luke Pinneo On Fatherhood « Precious moments […]

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