Saturday, December 1, 2012

Oh, honey!

I’m not a particularly outgoing person. Throughout our marriage I’ve made my husband call to order the pizza or arrange for any house service. If I see someone I know in a store, I often try to duck into the next aisle without being seen. I rarely chit-chat with the cashier and if there’s a way to do it online, I generally prefer it.

Having kids, however, has changed me a lot. Well, duh, you might say! I know, but the changes aren’t just in the obvious ways.  Now that I am responsible for these miniature human beings, I’m more willing to do things that make me uncomfortable. Knowing that they depend on me, I feel braver and stronger.  I also enjoy a good little chat with strangers, especially about the kiddos.

One conversation that has repeated itself over and over again – and frankly is giving me a complex - goes something like this:

 “Goodness, ma’am, you sure have your hands full!” 

“Yes, they are close in age and a lot of work!”

“Oh honey, enjoy it while you can. They grow up so fast! Mine are in college now…”

It’s such a bittersweet interaction. I can’t help but feel partially encouraged and partially gutted every time it happens. I generally just shake my head yes and say I’m doing my best to enjoy each day with them, but as I walk away and load the kids in the car, I’m not going lie, I often shed a few tears.

Is it possible to miss a moment as it’s happening. Because, I do, a lot. I regularly find myself giving the kids a bath or stacking blocks with them in the playroom and think, “Man, I miss this!”. I have this constant craving to soak up every moment with them that I can. Not just to get through the day or co-exist, but to thoroughly engage with them and experience each day together.  I hate leaving them to go to work, I’m stingy with making plans away from them on the weekends and yes, I even miss them when they are napping.

Yet, as much as I try to soak it all up like those sweet cashiers constantly encourage me to do, I see it all just as quickly floating away and flying into the past. It’s like sand running through my fingers and I can’t make it stop.

If you’ve been following my blog for long, you know that one thing I write about regularly is memory preservation. Well, this is the back-story to all of that! I don’t want to lose these days and yet, every night I have to say goodbye again. 

I think part of the pessimism is that I’ve never had someone respond with, “Oh, honey, it is a lot of work now, but it will all be worth it. You’ll just grow closer as they get older and they will love and respect you for all that you invested into them. The best days are yet to come, don’t you worry!” If I heard that, I’d be giggling the whole ride home.

But, I haven’t heard that. So, I stress about every minute I'm away from them and celebrate every milestone I get to experience with them. I do my best to record it all, probably with the thought that when I'm that older parent sitting at home, at least I'll have the memories. (excuse me for a minute while I go sob!)

Is parenting really that hopeless? Do kids inevitably grow up to be teenagers that rebel from their parents, college students who rarely come home for a visit and adults who call once a month? I guess my new mission is to find someone who can say "It just gets better!" and find out how they did it (“it” being parenting). If I do, I’ll be sure to let you know! Or if you know of someone like that, by all means, send them my way. I need a little more hope in the parenting department right now. How about you?

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the honest writing. It is weird that each day is crazy and bedtime can't come soon enough, but at the same time sometimes in those moments you realize you just love your kids like crazy.


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