I’m wiped out tonight. I should be sleeping, but I’m still winding down from my daughter’s opening night performance of her high-school musical. The kids did a terrific job, and my daughter is more alive than I’ve ever seen her.
I thought back to my own high-school musicals and felt every emotion from the magic bonding with the cast that happens over weeks and weeks of hard work and practice, the adrenalin high of executing the performance for an audience, and the sad let-down after the whole thing is done. I felt it all as though it were yesterday.
And I’m exhausted from it.
Raising children is a constant trip down memory lane for me. It’s a bit of a “do-over.” Sorta. I gravitate to the familiar parenting style I know and saw, despite my hatred of it, and it’s a regular internal battle to consciously try to do things differently. And I see a little bit of Lisa in every bad-behavior moment in my kids, which triggers a quick, uninvited moral inventory, usually at a very inconvenient time.
My life flashes before my eyes in a blink, and all the while I struggle to distinguish the difference between a moment from 30 years ago and the present – to recognize that my children are not me and I am not my children.
And I watch these movies play on different screens with different characters over and over – and each time I have the opportunity to see myself in these young people who need parental support, and I get the chance to provide the support I desperately craved, in the way I wished I could have received it.
And now I’m going to parent myself and say “lights out – you need some sleep.”
I’m going to bed, Fred.