I came to parenthood on the late side. Our son came to us through the blessing of adoption, and our daughter arrived 9 months and 27 days later through an apparent miracle of conception that was said to be impossible. We thought so. Surprise!!!
All the parenting books in the world could not have prepared me for the long, lonely nights of bouncing a colicky baby on a yoga ball, the darkness punctuated by the sounds of my own desperate breathing, as I struggled to stay awake, arms numb from holding my beloved babe against my breast. Or, that I would be mistaken for an over sized wipe, due to occasional vomit and pee, and oh yes...projectile poop explosions.
There are the mundane tasks: the meal planning, the laundry, the multiple driving destinations, and the endless picking up after small people. Sometimes, we are so caught up in the doing that we can miss the being.
Yet, out of the mundane and ordinary spark those little jewels. The moments when you are slayed by what your children say and do. Our children help shape us. Hopefully we become better people, because we are forced to look into our own childhoods to see what worked and what didn't.
To respect who they truly are is not always an easy task. Too often we get caught up in our own stuff. Our own projections of who we think they are, or who they should be. Or worse, what other people might think of our children.
I no longer have a baby snuggling into my neck who smells of yeasty milk, or a toddler reaching up to a table loaded with possible dangers. My daughter no longer cries when I leave her with her peers. She wants to be a participant without me. My son checks in with me more often, asking if he can have another cookie, or have computer time. We have conversations. On good days, they share what they did at school. They've memorized our phone numbers. They sing songs. They have full little lives. Sometimes with me and sometimes not... It is only when I step into their room at night, enveloped in darkness, that it feels the same as when they were babies. I stand and listen to their soft breathing in the dark, kiss their velvety cheeks, and weep...