Never Grow Up [Especially Now that you have kids]
There are a few memories from childhood that I can still remember vividly...
One involved my version of highland dancing by jumping on the bed and insisting that everyone at my parents dinner party watch me…which quickly resulted in frustration when the crowd didn't build.
Another was listening to my cousin retell a tobogganing story that included a ramp and his heart flying out of his snowsuit then him catching it in mid landing. I retold the story many many times to others.
And then there was the afternoons with my back lane biking club The Royals and racing from aliens on my yellow BMX bike. We didn't use elbow pads back then but I wouldn't of used them anyway. Eh heh.
My childhood was complete with backyard exploration, a very vibrant family circle, an abundance of books and art yet wasn't free of boredom, frustration and impatience. Most days I wanted to be grown up but mostly the part about making the rules. Fast forward 30 years later and all of that is staring me in the face…with blue marker all over his leg while the other one isn't in the mood for diapers. Finally I found that little girl's kindred spirits.
Parenthood guides [insert yadayadayada about how this and when that: experts say] which is helpful in understanding your kids but my frame of reference is: it takes one to know one. And the one I know just never got off her BMX bike. What the does that mean? To me it just means at 2, 4 and 39; two little guys and one working mama; the three of us who are/have been a child, we’re more same than different.
Living in each moment. These days Evan is completely engrossed in art and when he's coloring or drawing a picture he doesn't hear me talking or Ethan sneaking away with his transformers. No different from those moments when he sits next to me and we watch birds peck at bread we left on the lawn. There’s a list of things that can wait - that list will never include my kids. So many say it all goes by so fast. Maybe they didn't know this is how to slow it down. It doesn't have to be all a blur so I've promised to be there to record vivid memories.
Impulsive and unpredictable. One moment we are negotiating with them to wake up and in a flash they are jumping out of their sheets to follow the sound of the garbage truck at the window. Some days we won't drive straight home at the end of the day and instead take a detour to anywhere. Sometimes that calling is actually just you trying to get a hold of you. Because if you know what you want you should get out of your way. Nothing beats momentum when warding off time vampires so take a queue from the little ones just go and just do! Whatever it is :)
Hearts on sleeves. From pouring milk in the wrong cup to fighting the Velcro on his shoe, Ethan, at two, seemingly has his heart broken almost daily. And just as many times will search my face calculating my emotion and reflecting it back at me. I see him as he sees me. All the cheek popping smiles, the reassuring glance or honest eyes of compromise. Our moods are no mystery and it would be a mystery why one would want them to be. The truth is always there and there's nothing else I'd want to work with.
Simple things. Because everyone wants a boat. In their house. Because who doesn't want a speed boat in their living room to race away from pirates lurking behind the couch. From your seat in the empty Amazon box. We also frequently oh and ah over a visiting snail in the yard or droplets of rain rolling off the roof into a bucket. It doesn't take much. They know this and frequently remind me of this. The little things that, despite having a short path leading to happiness like hugs and wild flowers, go a long way inside each of us
So as grown up as we may be there's something to be said about preserving and protecting our own inner child. It's that inner child who our children are most able to relate to. That inner child who laughs at all their jokes and is just as captivated by anything. That kid that is going to keep pace with your own.
Truth be told parenthood itself is a grown up undertaking. A life in your hands, in your care. And yet you have spent your whole life doing this. No less in value only now just greater in volume. It's a second go around only now you have context and the rules are ones you make (if any). Yay finally!
Have fun everyone!
P.S. How much of your parenting reflects or is influenced by your own childhood? I'd be interested to hear!