The Future

There are times when my mind flashes forward and sends back an image of what the future might look like. It happened last night when I was having dinner with my two boys. Asher was sitting on my lap and Everest was at his spot at the head of the table. There was something in Everest’s hand gestures that triggered the future-mind response, and I suddenly saw him sitting at this same dining room table, 24 years old, tall, confident, an easy smile on his face. Maybe it’s what I hope for him; maybe it’s a fragment from a dream that’s spliced into daytime consciousness. Whatever it is, it leaves me feeling both happy and sad: happy to see a glimpse of an imagined future and sad that time just keeps moving forward and the little, adorable, innocent six year old that sits before me will one day be all grown up.

As I fell asleep last night I pondered the image and what it elicited inside me. I thought about my life’s work of teaching others (and myself, of course – we teach what we need to learn) about letting go. I thought about all of the letting go that will happen between now and then: when he has his first crush and the tendrils that bind him exclusively to me begin to loosen. When he gets his driver’s license and drives off in a car alone (God help me!). When he graduates from high school and leaves home for college (perhaps we’ll be so blessed that he attends a local college…?). When he travels the world. When he falls truly in love and asks for her hand in marriage. Oh my.

And then I wondered: if I can see the 24 year old in the 6 year old, will I also be able to see the 6 year old in the 24 year old? When he walks into his childhood house for Thanksgiving and other holidays, will my mind flash backward and catch a glimpse of the little six year old who sat at this table one night in October 2010? Will I hear his feet scampering wildly around the house? Will I flash on him and Asher wrestling in the living room, both so small? When he stands at the altar waiting for his beloved to walk down the aisle, will I see the little boy within the grown man while I sit in the front row, crying tears of joy and sorrow? I hope so.

11 comments to The Future

  • I am sitting at a coffee shop down the street from your house bawling my eyes out right now (I do believe that I now have a reputation at the Winot as the crazy pregnant lady).

    This is so beautifully put, and I think that something that everyone has similar feelings on. We nurture our children, we love them, we want them to be happy and succeed, but watching them grow so fast is so tough. I look at my sons with the same wonderings, what life will be as we move forward in life. I too hope that I can see the children they are in the men that they become.

  • Thank you for this. You brought tears to my eyes. It’s my earnest hope that yes, we will still see those little boys in our grown sons and that we will somehow surf in and out, back and forth, and in between times throughout our whole lives. (I have an Asher, too.)

  • tara dukaczewicz

    i think my boys will always be little in my eyes. i still see my 4 yr old as the little tiny baby that he was. and when people say how big he is getting i honestly wonder what they are talking about. my older boys weren’t part of my life until they were 11 and 12 and that is how i still see them even though they are now 16 and 17. and my youngest is 7 months, i wonder if i will think of him at this age when he is a big like his brothers. getting a great big lump in my throat now…

  • Celestial Meeker

    Wow. May we cherish these days! Thank you for this reminder of how fleeting their childhood is. Some days it is difficult raising these energetic little beings… but we will miss wiping the runny noses and cleaning the spilled spaghetti (entire plate last night!!). As I watch my daughter play with my 5 month old and I tell her to “be gentle” for the 5th time… while hoping my 4yr old doesn’t break his arm jumping off the couch after I told him not to… I am fondly thinking of your words.

  • Wow… thank you for that!! I share similar glimpses… like when I listen to my baby’s music player, playing Cannon in D… and I see his Bride walking down the aisle, at their wedding… amazing!

  • Thank you, everyone, for your comments. It is quite universal, I suppose, this confluence of joy and pain in witnessing our kids grow up. It does help me to stay in the moment and appreciate it all – even the challenges – when I really feel into those flashes of the future. And how many times has someone whose kids have grown said to you, “Appreciate these years, honey, because they pass before you know it.”

  • Stacy Ostler

    Thankyou for this website-
    I find myself in the middle of many transitions:
    Weaning my 2 year old daughter from breastfeeding-How
    conflicted I feel to lose this special ritual we share and
    yet needing to get a full night sleep…

    Starting my own business…Never have done this before..
    Involved hiring a nanny…difficult to let my daughter be cared for by someone else..

    Working on my marriage so that their is more happiness and friendship….

  • Liz

    I can tell you as the Mother of 3 grown children who have ventured out into the world…that little boy never goes away. At all those BIG life changes i look at my oldest son and then hug the 6 year old….The pure joy of their spirit nevers goes!

  • This is a lovely meditation, thank you.