I remember the stumbling blocks, obstacles, and ups and downs I encountered over the years-
- The overwhelming feeling of terror when faced with the enormity of being responsible for the existence of that tiny human
- Figuring out when to feed him, how much to feed him, his cries- as few as they were……
- Getting him to sleep through the night- easier than one would think
- Potty training- not as hard as it needs to be when you can bribe him with a mini-marshmallow each time he peed
- Teaching him his colors- impossible until you find out he’s colorblind
- Becoming the parent of two children and all the challenges that come with that additional tiny human
- Lather. Rinse. Repeat….or not
- Finding out that the second tiny human is nothing like the first was so all bets are off
- The moment you realize that the three’s are much more terrible than the two’s could ever be!
- Teaching him to tie his shoelaces- frustration at its best
- Determining if he is left or right handed and then having to convince his teacher that you are correct
- Carrying around a toddler who can’t
refusesto walk at 15 months.
- More potty training but this one can’t be bribed
- Homework and having him read books to you (AHHHHH!)
- Scarlet fever. Chicken Pox. Strep throat. And my all time favorite- the puking, diarrhea virus that landed us with a dehydrated sick baby in the ER and 2 puking kids at home with their grandma.
- The third time human who completes your family but also throws all the rules and all the parenting experience you have amassed out the window causing you to have to rely completely and totally on instinct.
- Ear infections and potty training and clingy, clingy, clingy.
- Boy puberty. Girl puberty. Puberty. Puberty. Puberty.
- So many years of school, activities, sports, music. Running. Running. Running.
- And in the midst (2003-2015 to be exact) TEEN TOWN (Need I say anymore?)
- You find out that your daughter is really your son but then no, no exactly your son but a very unique blend of both.
- Your baby goes off to college.
- Your oldest gets married and starts his family—–beginning the cycle all over again.
And here I sit on the other side, thinking about all of it and how consuming it was. At times it was exhausting and too many times I was so caught up in all of it that I forgot to sit back and savor those moments. I knew they were fleeting at the time but it was all moving so fast. With three children, there was always someone in crisis or needing attention.
The thing I find most interesting is that other people whose kids are the same age as my children have stood up, dusted off their hands and moved on. Their kids seem to be off living these independent lives, even the ones in college.
I have two in college and one married with kids and it seems to me that they need me even more now. Everyone was home for Thanksgiving and we got to spend some rare time together- all of us. While I was happy to have all my kids back home safe and sound for a short time, it wasn’t the relaxed time I had hoped it would be.
When my kids were growing up, I would get this feeling that something wasn’t right. Sometimes I knew which kid it was and sometimes I could even figure out what was wrong but there were other times when I couldn’t pin it on a specific child or if I knew which one it was, I was unable to locate the problem.
See, I have two kids in crisis right now. Parenting adult children is completely different than parenting kid kids. So much of it consists of propping them back up on their feet when they fall down, reassuring them that they can do this…..and then stepping away but not too far- just in case they fall again. That’s where I’m at with one of my children. We’ve been in this holding pattern for a few years now and I keep hoping that one of these days when I push him back up onto his feet he stays standing. Until then, I’m always nearby- keeping an eye on him. And I make sure that he knows that even if he doesn’t hear from me or see me, that I’m always there.
The other one is in a major crisis and although I know that there are people who would say (and have said) that I need to back off and let him figure this out, my gut instincts are screaming at me so freaking loud there are nights that I can’t sleep.
I wish that I could say that my track record sucks and that I’m wrong more times than I am right but when it comes to my kids… well, I know my kids. And so with this one, I’m staying closer, making sure he not only knows that I’m here but he sees it and feels it.
One of my closest friends lost his mother this weekend. I know that this is a difficult time for him and I wish I could be there for him but he’s out of town dealing with his loss. It reminds me that no matter how old you are, there are times when you still need your parents. You still need or want your parents to be parents because I think that the small child in you cries out for them. I know so many people who would give one more day to see their parents one more time. I know what it feels like to want your parents and have them not be there. And mine are not gone. They are a few miles away, trying to not rock their boat while balancing on a fence. It’s not a good feeling.
So as long as I’m alive I will love my children and be there for them and I’ll even tell them to stop being asses when they are acting like jerks but no matter what they will know that I’m here.