The New York Times ran an opinion piece over the weekend by Emily Rapp called Notes From A Dragon Mom. If you haven't already done so, you need to take a minute to read it. Go ahead; I'll wait.
This piece hit me so hard because it focuses on something that rarely gets attention in parenting magazines: the here and now of parenting. Snuggling with your child for the sheer joy that it brings both of you in this moment; without worrying about what else you should be doing or whether or not your child will be able to go to sleep without snuggling tomorrow. Listening to your child's stories ... really listening to them ... without trying to decipher hidden meanings or extract a life lesson on sharing, setting goals or physics. Loving your child today without setting ambitious goals for their future. Because like it or not, one thing we parents never talk about is the possibility that our kids may not have a future.
In Notes From A Dragon Mom, Rapp admits the horrible truth that her 18-month-old son has Tay-Sachs disease, a terminal genetic disorder that has no cure, no treatment, and no hope for a future. Children diagnosed with the condition usually die before the age of 4. Rapp knows that her son will die, and rather than bury her head in the sand or glue herself to Google in search of a different outcome, she commits to loving him, fiercely, day-by-day.
Yes, Rapp knows that her love story will end tragically in the future. But she has not let it strip her of the love that she has today. It is a powerful reminder to any parent about the love that is right in front of us every single day. Waiting for snuggles, waiting for someone to listen, waiting to share a hug.
Don't wait. Love your child today. Thank you for the reminder, Ms. Rapp.