Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Longest Road That is Really the Shortest

Eight years ago, I was hugely pregnant and trying to not take offense when people asked me if I was expecting twins two months before my due date. I was reading all I could about pregnancy and birth plans and commiserating online with other pregnant moms due at about the same time. I was emotional and excited and fearful and naive.

Yet no matter how well-prepared you may be, how many people tell you the reality, how many gory details you uncover...there is nothing that truly prepares you for the reality of parenthood. I'm not even talking about labor and delivery...I know very little about that anyway since 2 of my 3 were scheduled repeat c-sections and the first was a very early emergent c-section.

There is little I remember about those days leading to parenthood. Nearly 8 years into the journey it's hard to remember how it felt to be expecting the first. I do recall, in hindsight, that I had no idea what was going to happen to my life. I thought I knew. But I didn't.

Now I am well-versed at being a mom to an infant, a toddler, even preschoolers and early grade-schoolers. I have no idea what it's like to be a mom to a preteen, teen, even grown child. With any luck, I will learn parenthood to these growing children.

I've learned that it's not possible to parent each child the same or equally. Everyone needs different things at different times. The children don't understand this, and we often have hurt feelings and accusations, but the reality is that not everyone is going to need a new pair of shoes at the same time. Is it fair that one child outgrows shoes faster than the other and needs new ones more often? Probably not. My guess is that over the years, the injustices even out whether we realize it or not.

Now here I am, on the cusp of my youngest child (always to be the baby) turning two. Soon, she will no longer need to drink whole milk and I will forget that kids from 1 to 2 should drink whole milk if they are not still nursing. Almost 6 months since D weaned, I've already forgotten what it was like to "have" to nurse a child.

So begins the business of forgetting the baby and toddler stages. Within 3 years, the knowledge of parenting a preschooler will begin to fade. The grade school years are fun in different ways than the infant, toddler and preschool years. The kids are people. They have ideas. They can be hilarious.

They still reflect how you treat them. The best days are when I remember to talk to my kids how I want them to talk to me. It doesn't always happen of course, but I try.

One day I know I'll look at three adults and think they are more amazing than I even imagined they would be.

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kelleysbeads said...

I wish I had started blogging sooner. These moments that we think we will never forget when in the moment slip through my fingers once they are gone. At the time, I just KNEW I would ALWAYS remember when my kids first became potty trained. Or how old they were when the first tooth pulled free. But now I have no clue and so much isn't written down anywhere.

Holly at Tropic of Mom said...

"The best days are when I remember to talk to my kids how I want them to talk to me." Awesome!

It's the forgetting-what-it's-like part that I fear and which makes me sad just to think about.

Madeline said...

I love this whole post. There really is no preparing you for parenthood...any stage of it, I imagine. And, what Holly quoted, I'm with her...Awesome!

chelle said...

you so totally rock.
what an amazing moment to share.
it goes by WAY too fast!

ewe are here said...

It's a weird, wild, loud ride, this parenthood thing. And it's strange watching my last baby near her first birthday, knowing I won't see so many milestones again.

 
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