Friday, May 8, 2015
Sometimes I see pictures from when my kids were much younger, from when they were babies and toddlers. I’ll get a tiny pang of nostalgia for when they smelled like Johnson’s lavender baby wash and then I’ll quickly regain my senses. Most everyone I know subscribes (at least publicly) to the please-stay-little-forever mantra, where they wish they could keep their child in a state of perpetual baby-hood and always have them in your lap.
Confession: I don’t feel that way. I’m guessing I’m not alone, but people are afraid to go on the record and say that they actually enjoy their older kids. I’m sure a lot of people do feel the same as me, but it’s not often, if ever, that you hear anyone say it. I’m glad they’re all out of diapers, completely potty-trained, and I don’t have to wipe someone’s butt on a daily basis, something I did daily from November 29, 2001 until sometime around December 2010. There are fewer tantrums, less Caillou, and no more Disney Junior. I’m glad that we can rock out to Fall Out Boy and Oasis while we’re riding to school in the morning instead of having to suffer through Dora’s latest and greatest hits and misses. Gone are the days when I don’t have to constantly ask, “What’s in your mouth?!” and then fish out some random piece of debris. “Was that cat food or something else?” “AWWWWWW! Don’t eat THAT!” They can play in the yard without having to constantly be warned to stay out of the street. I don’t worry about them suddenly toppling over and bashing their head against the bricks on the hearth. My outlets are free from plastic obstacles, I open cabinets and drawers without hesitation, and the bleach can live under the kitchen sink again. Stairs are ascended and descended with ease and I don’t freak the freak out hoping they won’t go crashing down from two steps from the top. I can let an ugly word slip without fear of it being repeated in front of God and everyone at church. (Don’t fib, you know you’ve done it too.)
I know the teen years will be fraught with their own set of worries and struggles, but at least they can fully understand my words when they’ve screwed up and can know precisely why they’ve been given certain consequences. They can also understand the value of work and that it may result in a little green in their pocket. They’re at the point now where they can stay alone for a while during the day and I don’t necessarily have to have a babysitter stay with them. They can try new things and succeed or fail, and be able to understand the lessons learned along the way. It’s wonderful to see them developing into their personality rather than trying to catch a glimpse of who they are as a person after they’ve had four meltdowns in the same day. I’ve always loved watching them achieve things, but now I get the added joy of knowing that they were able to figure it out without much, if any, input from me.
I’m glad I’ve arrived at this season of my life. I always knew I’d enjoy them even more when they got a little older, and now I am at peace with saying it out loud. I’ve always loved and adored them, from the time they were a pink line on a stick, but now it’s an enjoyable time of life where I get to sit back and watch my years of work come to fruition, that they might reach their full potential as they grow into adults.