There's a song by E.L.O. (Electric Light Orchestra) that comes to mind when deliberating over the next prompt on the #Reverb10 reflective writing project. I believe it's called, "I'm Alive".
December 3 - Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (Author: Ali Edwards).:
If you are a mother who has actually given birth (think about it) there is an indescribable feeling you get that consumes your entire body once you first lay your eyes on your newborn baby. It is what I choose to call "JOY". Joy, in my mind, is the feeling I had when I first laid eyes on my first born son, Justin. It is the culmination of every single entire emotion possible and covers the entire spectrum of possible feelings. Joy is so consuming that it fills every inch of your body and electrifies every neuron and electron. Joy brings tears to your eyes and pastes a smile on your face at the same time. Joy tightens your throat and makes your heart pound. Joy is LOVE.
We were approaching the dorm on September 24, 2010, my mom's 70th birthday. We were all in my mom's 1995 Beige Toyota Camry and drove the one and a half hours to Greensboro, NC. It was parent's weekend at the college and while David was home working, my mom, Nicolas, and I decided to take a long weekend and visit Justin for the first time in six weeks. We had gone six long weeks without seeing Justin; the longest it's been for everyone.
It is crazy to think that one day you are holding your child for the first time and eighteen years later you are letting them go on their own. You somehow have to trust within yourself that you did everything you could as a parent to protect them and prepare them for the world beyond your borders. They are now at the mercy of the 'real' world and themselves. You hope that you've equipped them with the proper skills to make moral decisions and at times you fear that they will be gobbled up by the overwhelming sense of becoming a follower just to 'fit in' and be accepted. Perhaps I was projecting my own sense of fear brought on by my insecurities and lack of self-confidence which made me fall prey to outside influences during my freshman year of college?
But as we parked the car in front of the dorm and texted Justin to let him know we'd arrived I couldn't control my anticipation of what he'll look like, how he'll act. It was almost as if he was being re-born. Not as a baby, but as a man. What should I expect? How will he look? Will he appear happy? How will I know if he's been well-nurtured?
The day was sunny, warm, with a bright blue sky. As Justin ascended the steps and recognized our car. I just couldn't control myself. My body took over and I leaped out of the car, got to the sidewalk and hugged my son with wreckless abandon and was completely oblivious to the public display of affection of which I initiated. It was instinctual, it was emotional, and raw. I cried like a baby. Relived that I had accomplished my goal. My child had made it to college! The icing on the cake was he looked GREAT! He let me hug him and actually reciprocated. He was dressed nicely in a tangerine, collared, short-sleeved shirt with new shorts. His hair was cut short and shaped beautifully. His beautiful brown skin was clean-shaved, smooth, and glowing. He smiled and then I knew he was doing well. I had done a great job as a mother. I loved him and he knew it. And I might even be so bold as to say, he missed me and he loved me. Boy, I'm getting choked up even as I confess this realization.
It is the best feeling to recognize yourself, pat yourself on the back, and sincerely know that you've done a wonderful job in raising a beautiful person. This is what successful parenting is all about.