I had coffee with a friend this morning and we were talking about the ages and importance of various things to our children. Which got me thinking about the developmental stages of humans (taught to me in my nurses training, observed during my life…) newborns through death.
At each stage ( and these stages are blurry, not discrete) there are blessings and difficulties. And as parent to each stage…the same. For example: newborns are open to the world and they smell good, but waking me up every 3 hours to nurse left me so fatigued it was difficult to appreciate the blessings. Toddlers are affectionate and curious, but a danger to themselves w/o close supervision. Kindergarteners are attentive and they sleep through the night, but they make a mess when they eat and resist going to bed w/o elaborate rituals. 12 year olds value what their friends have to say, and forget that their parents have more experience than their friends. 15 year olds have a sharp nose for hypocrisy, a love of the truth and no knowledge of fatigue and compromise. 20 year olds have a sense of what is possible with youth and energy and an impatience to start. 50 year olds have had a hard yank on the leash that they may not yet get it all done and the good sense to leave some of the work to the next generation. And at 80 (I’m listening to you mom….) a joy in the everyday, and a comfort in the abilities of the next generation.