When my babies were born, I wished them each a life of happiness. “I just want you to be happy.”, I whispered into each tiny ear, as I cuddled them in my arms, watching each perfect face as it lay in sleepy calm.
“I just want you to be happy.”, I said, as I tucked my toddlers into bed, smoothing soft blankets over each small form.
I just wanted them to be happy.
And I thought I knew what that meant.
I wanted them to have many friends. I wanted them to love school, to be curious and interested and excited.
I wanted them to travel along the path that I envisioned, skipping along through life as I had planned.
I wonder now how I would have answered if I had been asked whether I wanted my children to be daring and adventurous. Would I have quickly denied any such hopes, wanting my babies to always be safe? Or would I have agreed, readily accepting the fact that happy lives are filled with challenges accepted and met?
I honestly don’t know.
But I suspect that I would have been torn. I suspect that if I had been asked, “Do you want your child to go out and have adventures?”, I would have stammered and stumbled and found myself at a loss.
Because here is what I now know to be true. As the mother of three young adults, I continue to say “I just want you to be happy.” But now I know a bit more about what I mean when I say it.
I mean, “I want you to find ways to continually challenge yourself, mentally, physically and spiritually.” And I mean, “I want you to keep growing, keep learning, keep striving for your next goal.”
But I now know that I also mean, “I want you to be safe! I want you to be cautious!”
And most of all, now I know that I truly mean, “I want to come home safe to me, to tell me all about the wonderful adventures that you have had.”
Tomorrow morning at dawn, this guy is heading out on an adventure.
But when I close my eyes, in the dark of night, I see this guy hiking out there in the woods.
I just want him to be happy.
But as soon as possible, I want him to be happy back at home with me.