If parents are lucky, they will die with their children adoring them.
A not-uncommon path to this conclusion may include adoration, less adoration, abandonment, slight adoration, less adoration, adoration II, moderate adoration and so forth, in a rich variety of sequences.
My daughter is in the first of these less adoration stages. She is 10 and I find myself looking at photographs of her with me when she was 2, 3, 4 … back when I was not just one pillar beneath the foundation of her very being, I was everything holding it up.
Then school came. Stupid school. It’s unfortunate to have been correct when I would have rather been wrong, but I called it: the day I walked her into kindergarten for the first time marked the gradual, steady descent from my spot at the top of her life’s totem pole. I’ve been needed less and less as she’s become more and more independent.
Let me call this one, too: next up is abandonment. She will hate me soon and I’ll wait for her to enter adulthood … when the frontal lobe of her brain will finish developing and she’ll view me as the person who loves her the way I always have.
All of this is exactly why Kalob came into my life at a wonderful time. I get to come home from work every day and receive celebrity treatment. Yes, the older children are happy to see me, but they love other people, too. After they greet me and share brief conversations about their day I had to initiate, I’ll see Kalob in his booster seat – covered with his dinner and a smile.
He squirms. Not to escape the chair, but to see me. I can’t get to him fast enough.
In this life, I am fortunate to have been loved and even adored. Some people do not receive this. But I’m lucky enough to have been loved and adored exclusively by my children at one time or another. I don’t feel unselfish for noticing the feeling that comes from being their only one, or at least pretending like I am. That is truly special … even if it does not last forever.
Tonight while Hollie helped Kalista and Jakob pack to move into our new house, I sat on the couch with Kalob, sharing a bag of chips. It began with me giving him smaller pieces and ended with him digging them out of the bag himself like a miniature version of an old fat man. Then we read. Then I gave him his bedtime milk and he fell asleep in my arms. Then I laid him in his bed.
He rested his head on my shoulder practically the entire time. The hair on the back of his head is starting to curl. He has a dimple on his temple. I love the way he laughs.
I have four more years of this. Then Kalob goes to school. Then, if all goes according to plan, Kalista will be on the doorstep of “adoration II.” Then I get her back as Kalob goes out.
I hope to die with the adoration of each.