As my kids get older, they get heavier to carry.
From a purely physical standpoint, their bodies grow bigger and stronger all the time. Where there were once babies who could fit in the crook of my arm, there are now children who have quadrupled in size.
Then there are the emotions, which seem to get heavier every day. I know that at this age and stage, I’m only just barely breaking the surface of their emotional range. But even now their feelings can be difficult to manage and heavy to hold as they learn to navigate the world.
The mental load only increases the weight, and there is more added as we each age. At one point it was all change, feed, and bathe and now there is soccer, dance, and preschool. The calendar is full, and so is my brain.
And of course, there is the world around us. There has always been heaviness, but nowadays we are all feeling it more acutely and more often. There is more grief in the wake of senseless violence, more worry about what the next day will bring. My duty to protect my children is an honor, but it is also so heavy.
Yet, watching my grandmother offer up her lap to my child who scraped her knee, I am reminded that no matter how heavy the load may feel, as parents we will never actually put them down.
Regardless of the demands on our bodies and minds, we consistently make the conscious choice to take on the heavy.
We will carry their hearts in our hearts, even when that hurts.
We will lift them up in pursuit of their hopes and dreams, even when they fail.
We will hold onto their fears and worries when we see them burdened by their own heaviness, even if we are just as scared.
The moment they came into our worlds, we picked them up. We took on the back pain, and the concerns, and the responsibility. We welcomed the heavy, knowing that lifting them out of their cribs was only a small piece of this journey.
I can't and won't shield my children from every heavy feeling, but I do want a lighter world for them. One that doesn’t carry with it the same all too quick cadence of tragedy. One with less hate and less fear. Less finger pointing, and more action.
To make it lighter someday, I need to take on more of the heavy right now. And I will.
By doing my part to carry the load of this generation. By putting my time and money where my mouth is. By picking up more when it would be easier to put it down and focus all my strength on the heavy in my arms.
The world feels heavy right now. It feels heavy in our homes, in our hearts, and on the evening news.
But all I know for sure is it is only going to get lighter if we get a little stronger, a little braver, and a little more willing to take on more.
I want to feel my children’s heaviness for as long as possible. I want that for every parent.
So what more can you do today that can make that happen?