Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Parenting is not for wimps!

Now, upon reading this, one might think I have a child with a particular problem.  One who needs more help than I can give, one who is sick; poor; depressed; homeless.  Some of those things might apply to some of my children some of the time.

What I am getting at is that parenting never EVER quits.  You cannot turn off the "parent" button once you have activated it.  Never!

I have five adult children.  Each of them is different and individual in their own way.  They are all smart and strong and capable of taking care of themselves.   But, I still think about them, yes, all of them, all of the time.  Constantly.

When you live at your parent's house, no matter how adult and independent you are, you become a kid again.   Or, if you have not yet launched, you have a hard time not being a kid.  I think that is why so many of us [adults] have such difficult relationships with our parents.

Parents cannot help it.  From the moment our first baby is born, we change.   We may not notice the change happening in front of our eyes, but it's there. 

Some mothers fall in love the very first time they see and hold their babies.  Other moms may be dissapointed that their baby looks more like a wrinkled up creature than a sweet baby.   And it is so hard not to feel guilty of not falling in love at first sight.   Each of my children were wanted, and I was in love with them as soon as I knew that I was pregnant.  I felt very "bonded" well before ever meeting them face to face for the first time.

I have been pregnant 7 times and have 5 living children.  My first pregnancy ended pretty far along- about 20 weeks.    It was so sad, devastating in fact.  Before the loss, I would look at my profile in the mirror and marvel at what was going on inside of my body.  I was large enough that everyone could see that I was pregnant.

I feel that I have bonded with each pregnancy, baby as soon as I knew I had conceived.   Really.  Each pregnancy was so very wanted that the thought of that life growing inside me made me feel that I was already a mother.  That I must prepare for this new life full of love.

When I was pregnant with Courtney - my first born- I was so amazed, I could barely believe it!   I had about 6 pregnancy tests done just to be sure!   I went home and stared at myself in the mirror to see if I "looked" like a mother yet.  To see if there was anything different in my eyes.  Maybe just a little sparkle in my eye would let me feel like I was going to be a mother.

How could I have known that I was in for the ride of a lifetime!

With each birth and new baby, the love in our house had grown.   We had a noisy, messy, crazy household.    There were usually toys on the family room floor.  It was impossible to keep ahead of the kid's clutter. 

I have to be honest here, with each pregnancy after Courtney, there were moments where I would catch myself wondering "what the hell was I thinking".  Feeling overwhelmed and claustrophobic.  Each pregnancy was wanted and planned.   I did want to have this baby and the next one and the next- until we got to #5, Chance, and decided to stop making babies.

You buy diapers and a few baby outfits, and new nursing bras and maternity clothes.   You anticipate and dream and nest.    You are consumed by the baby.  Everyone asks " is this a good baby", meaning "how much does the baby sleep"  "is the baby sleeping through the night.

The whole family bed and natural, child fed weaning are not mainstream.  But that's what we did- with no regrets.   There is a lot of fuss about the baby.  Then, all at once, you have the oldest going off to college, while the youngest starts kindergarten.

They grow and mature and get really neat and fun to be around.  And exhausting.  You find yourself  lying in bed at night wondering if your teenager, out with friends, will come home safely.    Big kids, big worries.

I never anticipated what it would be like, down the road, when these "babies" became independent.

So, my oldest is 36.  My youngest is 23.  Living on their own.   Not having to tell me where they are going, or explain why they are late and in trouble.  All of my kids are now older than I was on my wedding day!  Chance, 23, is the same age I was when I gave birth to Courtney.

The house seems so quiet.  This morning, Nick and Austin were both out working.  I have been imagining all of the things I am planning to get done when I am home all alone.   Let's see.  What did I get done today?   I emptied the dishwasher.  I washed, dried and folded laundry.  But it was so quiet.   Not lonely. just different.

I know that I want to continue on this train of thought- about adult children.  But the train is about to leave the station- translation:   I am falling asleep in my chair and I really need to get to sleep.

When I re read this in the morning, I hope I can make sense of what my sleepy brain has written.

Good night all.

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