Watching Your Kids Grow Up To Be Super Successful
My girlfriends and I wonder, "are our best selves history?"
I was that mom, not quite a helicopter, not quite a tiger — but definitely involved.
I was determined to give our four sons ambition and opportunity, beginning each at age 2, in “advanced” tumbling classes. I was on the sidelines of each of their games — soccer, basketball and lacrosse, screaming so loudly that other parents moved away.
I was that mom in the front row of school plays, to get the best footage on video. I organized lessons in piano, guitar, karate, tennis and tutoring for SATs.
Now in their 20s, the boys turned into versatile, confident and accomplished young men. They are ascending in their chosen fields, in music, media, web development and film-making.
Now, I am that mom at middle-age who is wistful that the exciting firsts in her own career climb are over.
Watching their excitement as they rise is a reminder that those highs for me are relegated to sweet memory. My girlfriends and I talk about this often: “So, now what? Our kids are great. Are our best selves history?”
I look at my old pictures and see a young woman on fire, starting a global journalism career as a feature writer for United Press International. Single and svelte, I am in flowing skirts and cowboy boots, wrinkle-free.
Those were the heady days I roamed the country and world, interviewing a cast of celebrities, ranging from Queen Noor to Yoko Ono to Ted Kennedy.
I still wear cowboy boots and flowing skirts, but I’m no longer that bud of a woman, expectant and free. The flower has bloomed. While I am still a prolific writer, I will never again have the rush of the first publication of a book, the first appearance on CNN.
Our oldest son’s first documentary has been praised by the critics as one of finest films of 2017. One recent night, I was sitting with my husband in our family room, in my old gray polyester bathrobe. We were tearful with pride, watching our boy stroll the “red carpet” before an awards ceremony for indie films, for which his work was nominated.
Nicole Kidman and Al Gore were wandering about.
Our son was stunning in a gray wool suit from England. My husband and I reminisced about how it seemed like only yesterday that we brought our 6-foot-5 filmmaker home from the hospital on Christmas 1989, weighing 7.5 pounds.
I had my own youth with the stars. I’ve been on Oprah twice. She is no longer doing her show that shot one of my books to the No. 1 slot on Amazon. Having waves of media fame was extraordinary. I was on top of the world — in fleeting bursts.
As our kids are gaining accolades, I remind them of something the late designer Perry Ellis told me decades ago when I asked him during an interview: “What does fame feel like to you?”
This was the early 1980s, when his billowy linens were the “it” styles for men and women. There was a long silence before he answered in a soft voice:
“There is nothing real about fame for me,” Ellis said. “You can’t take fame to bed with you at night. The most important things in life are matters of the heart.”
I tell my sons what Ellis told me, to savor the rise, savor the attention. But remember that what matters most is to do work you love, work that matters, surrounded by people you love.
My auburn hair is now shot with silver, and I have pangs of sadness about the swift passage of time and for those lost bikini years. But mostly I am grateful to be at a plateau, often relaxing on the couch in my gray bathrobe, witnessing my kids at the start of the race.
Iris Krasnow is the author of relationship books found on iriskrasnow.com