Just a minute ago, she would sing all the music that we liked in the car. A split second ago, he needed to know where I was, even when I was in the same room. I have been sad about it lately. The world turns and turns, but secretly, I was hoping that time would stop and we would stay still together. Even just for a bit.
I am not sad about them growing up. Or am I? I don’t even know. All I know that this part of motherhood was so far off in the future such a short time ago. It’s like when I was fifteen and I was positive that I would be married and have at least three kids by the age of thirty. Thirty was SO far away, essentially a lifetime. Now, I am calling thirty the good ‘ol days and my kids are saying words like ‘epic’ and clearly explain to me how to work the T.V. from my cell phone. Their frustration with me is obvious, but they are patient. My son asks if television was in “black and white” when I was a little girl? Oy vey.
On the same thankful note, they still ask for me. They still sneak into bed with me at night and they still seldom mispronounce words or say a phrase in the wrong context. My daughter has a “crave” for chicken nuggets and my son wishes he could stay up until “nidnight”. They both want my attention and need help out of the bathtub. They still love being with their parents and would probably choose to do something with us, as opposed to without us. They are loving and kind and when I call them “baby”, they answer to it…most of the time.
They have formed personalities, yet are still the little tiny sponges I once knew, who soaked in everything and anything I gave to them. They pick up what I put down and sometimes, throw it back at me in full force. I am perplexed a lot more now. I have to think about my words in a different way. The days of spelling words to hide from them are over. O-V-E-R. They have opinions, and are smart, and they have amazing ideas. They’re little people. They interact with others every day, they are influenced, and they are becoming more and more independent, all the while still occasionally sitting on our laps. What a time this is.
I have said it before: I am a plumber with leaky pipes. I work with children all day long. I think that I am good mother. However, I do question myself a lot. I wonder if I am doing the right thing. Am I explaining it the best way? Should I limit screens more? Do I do enough academically? Are they getting the right nutrition? Am I flexible enough, yet structured and reliable? All of these questions have existed in one way or the other since they were born and they continue to exist, just differently.
At the end of the day, I always come back to this: I am only getting them like this for a little longer. I will still curse each and every action figure I step on, each sock that sleeps on the staircase, and the newly arrived slight eye roll alongside the dramatics that are attached to so many things. Brushing your teeth is tedious and tiring, you know? I have to work at it. I have to work at it because just when I thought I was out of the woods, as in keeping them alive as infants and toddlers, a whole new ball game has begun. It appears to be the very first inning.
The truth of it is that I sometimes laugh when I find a Super Mario figure on top of the toilet because that is the last place he was that evening. I know him, and know that his mind is going a million miles a minute, moving onto the next thing before he finishes the first. I sometimes glance into her room and see the little dustings of a young girl mixed with little sparkles of a young lady, and I smile. It’s all so good and I am so thankful. We refer to them as babies, because that they will always be to us. We grow alongside them and suddenly see snapshots of our parents within ourselves, perhaps dodging them at times. We try to be the best we can be while also owning up to the fact that just a spit second ago, WE were in high school. WE were just starting out. and WE have memories of when WE were their ages, even if vague, like many of mine.
So, my Sunday pause is just this. I am writing it down because I need to remind myself. I must stop and think about how important it is to let my children play, to talk to them, to question them. I need to remind myself of how unimportant so many other things are, even when they seem very important in the moment. When they play with friends and each other (which still happens thankfully), I can still hear them and quietly learn about who they are when I’m not around, which is more frequent now. I will enjoy keeping them close and will be happy as they continue to expand themselves in their own unique ways, even when I have no idea how to handle it. And today, I will try to be patient and firm, fun yet grounded. Today, I will try my best as a mom and understand that inevitably, I will mess up. Then, I will try again. All I can hope is that they pick up anything good that I put down, and hopefully throw it back at me some how, some way, some day.