Last week after I wrote about my Erikson epiphany, Kristine left a fantastic quote in the comments that has been on my mind ever since. It addresses that same idea that Erikson captured: that parenting is a transformative experience and, as our kids start growing up and we have time and space to look around a bit more, we're increasingly primed for generativity, creativity, and giving back to the world more widely.
Since you might have missed the quote, imbedded as it is in the comments, I wanted to pass it along (edited a bit for brevity; see the whole quote here in the comments):
"As mothers, as fathers, we have at our disposal a wonderful time of rehearsal. We may set aside our interests time and again; we may practice watching the interests of others. But if that sacrificial love starts with our children, and stops there, we will have lost our opportunity to fulfill Christ's commandment, and so have everything that He has promised. Christ's commandment is that we love, not just our children, but one another!
"...This is the best news of all, because, mothers and fathers, when our time has come, when, having fulfilled the duties of our state of life we are free to address ourselves to the needs of the world, when it comes time to love one another as Jesus loved us, we already know how! We have already learned! How to teach, how to feed, how to tend, how to heal, how to care, how to love. But it is different with us this time, because we act not out of duty. This time, in addition to knowing how to love, we also know why.
"...Having practiced our scales, played the daily exercises of love for our children, the scales of our belonging, now we come to the concerto. Now the music begins. Having loved our own, we now can love the world. Now we rise to the task for which parenting prepared us...because although we lost ourselves in our mothering, God remembered us, and brought us forward, and made us new."
- Reverend Canon Susan Harriss, Mother's Day sermon
It's a reminder I needed--that, in all the mundane and profound daily sacrifices that parenthood requires, we also launch ourselves.