“I need to talk to my dad more,” Jin said with a relieved smile.
It had been months since Jin could have a deep father-son talk but Dad had just returned from a business trip and that evening the two of them spent almost 4 hours catching up. From financial planning, future goals, mom’s health and recent life lessons, they had a lot to talk about.
Between school, work, social events and the demands of everyday life, they had been too busy.
But the last hiatus was important. After talking with Dad, Jin realized how many thoughts, worries, and inspirations could build up inside when he didn’t check in regularly with Dad. He also realized how many things could be resolved simply by talking things out with Dad.
It was kind of a realignment when they talked; a time to get on the same wavelength. Dad, being on the outside of Jin’s life, could present a different perspective. When they talked, they identified the priorities, the large rocks of life, which helped map out where the smaller, but just as important things could go, and which ones he could just let go of.
Talking to Dad also made the impossible seem possible. Most recently, Jin had been contemplating the next few years of his life. Should he go to school right away or not? If he did, could he be financially responsible? Along with those questions came the bigger questions that impacted those answer – like did he know what he wanted to do with the rest of his life? And was he where he wanted to be at this point in his life? As he talked to Dad, these stressful questions that sat in Jin’s gut got unraveled, reformed, and made into an opportunity for growth.
He realized that life didn’t rest merely on what he did, but how he grew from his different experiences. He realized that more than making the “right” choice, he should take responsibility for his choices. He also affirmed his long-term goals which included family life and career. After talking to Dad, the next few years seemed less daunting and more exciting. The past few years looked less ambiguous, and more purposeful.
“God was wise to give each child parents,” reflected Jin.
The parent-child relationship is one of unconditional, absolute and eternal love. Such an unmovable foundation is the wellspring of confidence, innovation and solutions.
Parents, have you talked to your children recently?
Children, have you talked to your parents recently?
Don’t be “too busy.” You may be surprised what fruits can come out of that conversation.
To My Children:
I wanted to take time this Mother’s Day to write this note to you.
There have been so many moments this past year, where I’ve composed this letter in my head to say, “Thank you.” So, what better day than Mother’s Day to tell you, my wonderful and, at times, let’s say “challenging,” children.
I am the most blessed woman in the world because I am your mother.
Without all of you, I would never have experienced what it is to be a mother; and oh what an experience it has been. No amount of words or photos or video footage can quite capture it. It has changed and challenged me physically, emotionally, spiritually and every which way possible. And I must honestly say, it has made me all the better for it.
Each of you have given me the visceral experience of carrying a life within me and the indescribable experience of giving birth to that life. It was, at times, cumbersome, trying, and painful – but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world – the memories of those moments are simply too precious.
I recall holding each of you for the first time, and that surge of love and affection that welled up in me, even though I felt as though I could sleep for 10 years. Each time I held one of you, I knew I was yours forever, no matter what happened, and that I was committed to do whatever it took to help you to be happy.
Come to think of it, that simple conviction is quite empowering – even without knowing what the future holds, not knowing your personality, your strengths, or weaknesses I still could say, “I love you, and will love you forever,” and mean it today, tomorrow and forever. Because of you I have had a glimpse into eternity.
Flash forward a few years. You have helped me make good on my promise to you. My heart has grown, my love has deepened. I have learned that my love is not contingent on if you make it to the potty on time, or if you each your veggies, or if you eat at all. My love is there for the good and the bad, the happy and the sad.
My love is not just soft and warm, it is at times hard and stern. I’ve learned to consider long term needs over short term gains. So even if you stamp your feet at me, call me mean names, and cry great big tears, I will insist that you brush your teeth before bed.
Flash forward even a few more years, and I can see what it means to love without expecting in return. I give my love, even when all you have for me is cold stares and sarcastic retorts. I will continue to insist on reinforcing the values that I know will help you become a good man and woman, even if you don’t want to hear the sound of my voice.
Even after such storms, my arms are always ready to embrace you after a tough day, my ears always ready to listen to your stories and my mind available to think through solutions. And when words fail, I’m ready to cook you a meal to comfort your heart with a little extra fatness and sweetness.
Flash forward even further, I can imagine holding my grandchildren. It’s mind blowing to imagine seeing a part of what dad and I began continue through another lifetime and then another – seeing forever in a living, breathing form. Even more, the moment captures how another’s happiness really does complete mine.
Yes, everything I do, from the food that I eat, to the movies that I watch, to the thoughts I think and the words that I use, even when I’m angry, to even the values that I have come to understand are the most important – I think of each of you first. I think of what will last and what will make you happiest.
I look in the mirror today, and I am different. And I am glad. Because of you I am a mother, and I can celebrate. So, on this day when you usually thank me – I want to thank you, my dear children.
I am so grateful to be your mother.