walking home.

When I was younger, everyone always told me to get out there and see the world. That the world is bigger than I could imagine. That it is beautiful. That in order to feel accomplished and worldly, I should jump at any opportunity to travel.

And I did for a long time. During college, I spent an entire summer hopping along the East Coast with nothing but a backpack. I had the opportunity to live in Europe for a few months and loved it. I spent some time mooching off of a friend that lived and worked at a ski resort. I tried to follow everyone’s advice. And I did see a bigger world. I saw different cities, different cultures. The main thing I learned in all of that is how much I appreciate and love my corner of the world. I just love home.

These days, I realize that by many people’s definitions, I’ve made my world smaller than it has ever been. But by my definition, it is larger than I could’ve ever imagined and that is because of my beautiful son. I would trade all of my photographs of city skylines, old buildings and landscapes for one picture of him.

I started thinking about all of this because recently I took a flight. A short flight in a small plane. Then a layover. Another flight. A hotel. A really nice hotel. A nice dinner. Nice people and not so nice people along the way.

But it is a part of a larger world that I have long forgotten about. As I stepped onto that plane, I realized it was the first time I’d flown since before my son was born. And this time around it just didn’t excite me. And I realized that I don’t need that big world right now, and that big world doesn’t need me.

I left MY world back at home, in his bed, sound asleep and unaware what opportunities and successes and challenges will be presented to him as he grows up. Still so trusting and loving, unaware of the good and bad people in this world, the people that don’t care, that care too much, that only care when it serves them. Unconcerned with social status, professional titles, first class and second class seating.

My world these days is one person. And some would say that if that’s how I feel as a mom then I’m doing it wrong. That my perspective is narrow and small-minded and won’t benefit my child in the end.

Maybe it is misleading to say that he is my world. It isn’t that my son is the ONLY thing in my life. But he is what my world revolves around. My faith and family keep it all going. But my son is at the center.

My career choices and decisions around my career choices are now made based on what I put out in this world for my son. I’m not talking about recycling (it’s important, don’t get me wrong!). I’m talking about the little things that are actually big things. Goodness. Kindness. Humility. Respect. Honor. We get what we put into this world. And I believe that it becomes a legacy that we as parents leave for our children.

Whatever job I have to do to make money to support whatever he needs is one thing. I will do whatever it takes. But I will be honest and kind and as respectful as possible while doing it. I will try to be the very best person I can for my son.

He doesn’t see a job title, or a fancy car (or my lack of one) or any of that other stuff. And I hope I can raise him to always know that kindness and empathy and humility and respect and understanding are more important than a fancy car or expensive watch that costs as much as a car (shout out to my (ex)husband).

To manage to find all of those things is great, and I can only dream of that for him. I will encourage him to do the very same thing – to travel and find his big world. But to know it is okay to follow the road back home. We must always remember where we came from and while we don’t need to know where we are going, we need to know what we want to represent when we get there. And that we all (typically) put on one pants leg at a time. And that no one knows our story like they think they do, and that we don’t know anyone else’s story like we think we do.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay