Those Quiet Moments

You’d think it would be stressful.

For me, I mean, not my kids.  I’m sure they have their stresses, too, but no stressful for me.

In the span of about a week and a half my oldest daughter returned to college and then my twin sons went on their first field trip – their first trip with no family around, for that matter.  It should stress me out.  It should stress us all out.

But instead it seemed to be the exact opposite.

The boys, leading up to the trip were a bit stressed.  Well, I should qualify that . . . Sam, the youngest twin (by about 30 seconds, his brother likes saying that), said he wasn’t sure.  When I said he’d have homework and would stay in a 4th grade classroom he said “oh, I really want to go, then.”

Noah, though, his brother, was very concerned.  It took a long time for him to broach the subject of going at all.  Once we did he kept talking about not wanting to go.  He’s very shy, hasn’t dealt with his grief as much as he portrays, and was really, really nervous.  So we took a trip to the area where the trip will be . . . and he was ecstatic.  The Marin Headlands in the San Francisco Bay area are filled with history, science, nature, and have a up-close view of the Golden Gate Bridge.  It’s pretty amazing, and I only spent a day there previewing the trip for him.

IMG_3378The boys left at o’dark thirty on a Tuesday.  Noah jumped right on the bus, was organized and all excited.  Sam, on the other hand, the one who desperately wanted to go was nervous.  I hugged them, took a photo and stood watching, wondering why all the parents around me showed their kids how stressed and worried they were?  I have the same worries, the same concerns.  I don’t want them to know I have them . . . not because I’m hiding it but because if they see I’m confident they’ll have a great time, I know they’ll believe it, too.  Kids worry about us as much as we worry about them.  If they thought I was stressed about this . . . they will be . . . the entire trip.

When I walked back to the car a wave of emotion hit me.  I haven’t had that in a long time.  A friend asked why.  I could only say that for an instant I thought about what their mother would have done.
“She would have let them go, though, right?” my friend asked.
“Yes,” was my reply, “and then she’d have bawled the entire way home.”

Well maybe not the whole way.  But she certainly would have called me all . . . day . . . long.  All week, too, stressed out about their being gone.

And there it was . . . the reason I was hit with the emotion.  I was feeling everything, love, pride, concern, excitement…but not stress.  I knew they had the tools to do this . . . and they were better off knowing I was the only one there to help them deal with this.  I think that was what sparked my emotions.

With Hannah
With Hannah

Then came the days without them.  Beyond the fact I’ve worked a lot of hours, simply by coincidence, I’ve had several days with my middle daughter.  Just her and I.  We played tons of guitar.  I learned Alex Clare and Paramore from her.  She learned Paul Simon and Robert Johnson from me.  We played some Black Keys songs and laughed when we both sang “when I think back on all the crap I learned in high school.”

Every change, every movement, every event can be positive motion.  My boys will learn, have fun, make friends and have stories.  My daughter and I went to dinner someplace her sister wouldn’t go.

No, I’m not stressed.  I thought the house would be too quiet.  Those quiet moments, though, are filled with wonder.

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One thought on “Those Quiet Moments”

  1. I think many parents mistakenly think that if they demonstrate how stressed they are, how much they’ll miss their kids, and how concerned they are about their safety…. That is shows their kids they love them.

    But that’s not the message kids need. It demonstrates to the kids that the parents are fragile, and there is nothing else going on in their lives without their kids.

    I think quiet confidence says much more. It says, hey little dude, it’s up to you to enjoy this experience or not. You don’t have to worry about your parents. You can miss me, sure, and I’ll miss you, but I’m not going to fret about a fiery bus crash, and neither should you. I have things to do and experience, and you have things to experience, and I will enjoy talking about it with you when you return. We will, all of us, have grown.

    No sense setting your kids to worry about your emotions for the whole trip. That’s not fair to the kids.

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