Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Parenting Ups and Downs

Sometimes parenting is fun and easy:

  • Hey kids, let's go swimming!
  • Who wants some ice cream?
  • Anybody in for a trip to Pizza Ranch?!
  • Let's go camping!
Sometimes parenting is tough:
  • You must eat your vegetables.
  • No, you may not hit your brother when you are frustrated.
  • Bathing is a necessity.
  • Pee pee is for the potty, not your pants.
Sometimes parenting is nearly impossible:
  • We love you just as much as your brothers. It's tough being the oldest. Yes, everyone thinks your little brothers are adorable but it doesn't make you any less wonderful.
  • No, you can't play on the playground in casts. Yes, you still need to bathe.
  • You are safe. You are okay. We will not let anything bad happen to you. I see you are very, very frightened. We will be done in just a moment.
  • No, just because 2 AM is in the morning doesn't mean it's time to get up.
I feel that I have come so far in being a better parent than I was 10 years ago. I am so much more relaxed. So okay with allowing my kids to have their big feelings and not feeling I've failed or need to join them in the ascent. Not perfect, but better and that's pretty good, going in the right direction. But I also feel that the difficulties are just beginning. The hard questions are around the bend. I am hoping I am learning enough to be able to answer well when they come. 

Sometimes I feel hit across the chest with the unexpected. Like a few weeks ago when Damek, for the first time, started sharing how left-out he feels sometimes. How cute Asher is and how much Caedmon needs and people pay so much attention to them and not to him. Oh, man! I knew that would probably come at some point, no matter how much Adam and I have tried to fill him up with special mom-time or dad-time, lots of hugs and love. How can he not feel that way some times? And when Caedmon sometimes feels so frustrated at having no control right now, being stuck in casts with a metal bar bolted into both legs and being completely dependent on other people to do even the littlest things that he just screams, ear-piercing, heart-wrenching screams. And when Asher will do awesome with potty training one week, not one accident, telling us when he needs to get to a bathroom and then the next week he fights us, doesn't want to go at all and prefers wetting his pants, and our bed, and the couch, and the carpet.

I live for the times when my eyes lock with one of my boys and we laugh uncontrollably over something absolutely silly, a made up potty song, a Shel Silverstein poem, a new joke. We can just let go of the heavy stuff and be together right at that moment. What a relief that is. I used to think the best parents in the world were the ones who could afford to give their children big experiences: world travel, cool events, incredible family vacations, weekend trips to world renown places. Now I think the best parents are the ones who intentionally create moments of togetherness, regardless of financial status, house size, zip code or recorded intelligence. I hope when my boys are grown and moved on to homes and families of their own they will look back at these days with a feeling of joy and love and togetherness. That regardless of the lows we actually go through they will feel their childhood was a series of high points that led them to where they are.