I adore my children, really quite a lot. They are all individually spectacular and quirky and I would want to hang out with them even if I wasn’t parentally obligated to. I have endeavored this year more than any other to simply enjoy my children in the stages they are in. Of course I miss them being babies but I also truly enjoyed them when they were smaller and do so now. Our lives don’t slow down and I find it important to strive to find contentment in our every day. Otherwise I feel like I am not only mourning the loss of their babyhood, but I am missing out on their now-ness which is so amazing. We recently had a few “big” milestones in our household. Our tallest and oldest daughter became a teenager, our littlest lost her face changing two front teeth, and our freckled boy in the middle made the minors team in baseball.
I have secretly been frightened of the “terrible teens” and how they supposedly snap your sweet well mannered child into a horrible spiteful nightmare seemingly overnight. On the day of her 13th birthday I found that I eyed the clock nervously waiting until the exact moment 13 years ago when she was born. I had visions of the second hand clicking into place and her head spinning around poltergeist style while she spewed nasty words from her once sweet mouth. This, fortunately, did not come to pass and she simply said thank you for an awesome birthday and skipped off to her room to go to sleep at a reasonable hour. My husband and I stared at each other blankly for a moment then had a victory glass of wine for a parenting job well done and did the same. Although she didn’t turn into a werewolf or slam a door in our faces, we did notice some subtle changes in her. She has always been a really exceptional kid, and I am not just saying that because we share DNA. She’s polite, kind hearted, compassionate, responsible, and tries as much as possible to stay out of and not cause drama. Since becoming a teenager she has worked harder in school, taken more pride in her appearance, and gotten herself ready quicker in the morning so she can catch the bus and arrive early to school for extra homework help. I am so enjoying the person she is and looking forward to the young woman she is becoming.
My littlest has been keeping the tooth fairy busy with 6 lost teeth in a year, the most recent and face changing her front two. I was a bit surprised when as that second small front tooth popped out of her mouth I burst into tears. What on earth was I doing? I didn’t just twist, tug, and pull a tooth free from my gums. I wasn’t bleeding, so why was I crying? My last baby just lost her last big tooth. Her last one, my last baby. This would never happen again. Well, barring an unfortunate dodgeball event at recess or a mis-step in hopscotch that is. I realized that one tiny lost tooth signified for me the loss of her babyhood. The restructuring of all three of my babies into big kids. I suddenly felt like I had missed out on so much, yet I have been blessed to be home with them sharing in everything. I felt in that one moment an enormous sense of loss and fulfillment all at once. Over a tooth, go figure! I immediately took her to my studio and photographed her beautiful transition into a young lady. She is outstanding! (And quite possibly my one kid that will morph into a teenage werewolf in a few years.)
Last year we signed our son up for rookie baseball thinking we were pretty rad parents. We got him cool gear, broke in his glove, and practiced with him in the yard. Well apparently a few of his buddies tried out and made it onto a higher level team. Our son was pretty convinced he was on the wrong team and that we should have signed him up on the minors team with his friends. Not as rad as we once thought. He played (and complained about it) the whole season and this year made sure we signed him up for the right team. The one catch, he had to try out. Our son is a really good athlete but doesn’t always focus come game time…squirrel! He likes to do his own thing and struggles to follow direction at times. That being said, last year he played an entire game of flag football in the pouring rain refusing to be subbed. He ended up tackling, or grabbing the flag, on almost every play and receiving the defensive player of the season award for that game. He also ended up with a month of pneumonia. He is one of the smartest kids I have met, constantly asking questions and trying to figure out how things work. He pushes limits and makes new ones. I already think he is a pretty cool individual but am so excited to see where his life takes him. Oh yeah, and he made the team.
Each night we send our kids up to bed to dream of exciting adventures and of the impossible. One by one we tuck them in and as I breath in I catch the scent of moonlight and childhood, sweetness and life, honey and earth. Everything that is good, fresh, and promising. I truly do adore my children and know they are going to be amazing grownups someday. For now, however, I will treasure them just as they are. Silly, quirky, and mine.
*moonlight is the sweet smell you breathe in as you kiss your sweet child’s cheek goodnight and see the moonbeams washing through their window and dancing across their face.