Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Sentimental Ramble...

Tonite is one of those nights when I'm overwhelmed with how quickly my children are growing up.  As new mothers (or fathers)  we were all told something to the effect of "Before you know it they'll be grown - it'll pass so much quicker than you can imagine"  and at the time I remember thinking - well duh - of course it does, but not *really* fully *getting* it.
This is my oldest - who is almost all growed up and shocking me with her maturity these days - and yes it was only a blink or 2 that childhood - who knew ?  ;)  And my youngest - who is slowly but surely passing all sorts of milestones that are just a little bittersweet knowing she is my last.  As she loses her toddler look and looks more and more like a little girl - and ever so much like her big sister - I'm reminded of just how fast it will go.  And of course with every child time speeds up just a little more - it's all a bit of a blurr at times now, and while I try so hard to make the most of each day and pay attention to those special moments - well life is busy, and often overwhelming.   I'd like to slow the
clock a little, but apparently that isn't allowed ;)  Much as I try - lots of quiet time at home - no overscheduled kids here - and still each hour, each day disappears in a blink.
It feels like such a massive responsibility - this holding all these lives in my hands.  One that I welcome and chose with a wide open heart, but still daunting at times.  Am I missing something important?  Am I seeing them as they truly are, or is my own baggage muddying the waters?  (Who doesn't have a little baggage right?)  And those moments when everyone is arguing, and the 4 yo just swore at her brother, and the 2 year old is climbing my leg, and the 9 year old is really pissed because I didn't buy him the sunglasses he wanted, and the almost 8 year old scientist is doing yet another science experiment - and making an enormous mess, and I still haven't heard yet from the adventurous oldest who is usually really good at checking in, but occasionally forgets..... in those moments when everyone is needing me for one reason or another - even if it's just to take up a little space in my mind...I want so very much to maintain my internal calm.  To just take a deep breath and love them.  Sometimes that's how it goes - often not so much ;)  A wise friend told me recently that it's all about laughing.  You have to remember to just let it go and laugh.  And she was so right.  When the scientist uses up all the dishsoap and scatters baking soda from one end of the house to the other I have a choice.  I can laugh and just enjoy his passion, or I can waste both time and energy getting cranky about it.  What a huge lesson!  It seems both obvious and profound at the same time.  And I think most importantly is how that scientist feels about himself in each scenario.  Not much of a choice if my priority is for him to feel loved unconditionally and accepted unequivocally.  In the scheme of things the mess - it doesn't matter.  It's the love that will endure. 

One day I hope that my children will look back on their childhood and remember love.  Feeling loved, and understood.  My oldest told me recently how much she appreciates me - and that she realizes how lucky she is to be so close to her mama.  Most of her friends aren't at all close to their parents.  They don't share anything with them.  Her friends are often shocked at how much she shares with me - and yet while she does go out and try out the same things in many cases, I'm struck by how much thought she puts into her choices.  How she comes to me and asks me what I think - knowing that for the most part she can count on me to be calm and give her straight answers.  Then she makes the choice that feels right to her and is constantly checking in with herself.   She has quite a bit more freedom than most of her peers, and yet free or no - those kids all do the things their parents are so frightened of - but they don't tell them.  They hide it.  And so instead of making well thought out decisions they dive in head first without much thought.  Fascinating stuff really - without much to rebel against there is plenty of time to stop and think about how she really feels, and what *she* wants and needs.

They say that the toddler years are similar to the teen years - and I think in some ways that is true.  They are trying to learn how to walk in this world.  If we constantly hover over them not letting them venture out then they won't learn balance.  Kids, babies, teenagers - they all need to stumble and teeter - that is how we find balance.  We can't protect them from everything, but we can maintain open communication.  We can be there always with a hand when needed,  an ear, a boost.   A trusted advisor.

In the end it doesn't matter how much we love them.  It matters how much they feel loved.  I don't know if my kids always feel loved.  That's the honest answer, but it's my priority.  I'm human.  I do my best.  I make mistakes.  At the end of the day tho I gauge where I'm at with my children by the look in their eyes.  If we've disconnected.  I reconnect.  I read so many books trying to find the right way to parent, and yet it really is that simple. 

Do they feel loved?


  1. What is that goop that the almost-8-year-old is holding?

  2. Stephen - it's a variation on "flubber" which is white glue mixed with a borax solution which then transforms the glue into - well flubber ;) Adding the glycerine changed it in that it was quite stretchy. Very satisfying for a little boy who *loves* any kind of chemical reaction ;)