So I was sitting in a cozy living room with some dear friends the other evening, and the topic of “How Children Change Your Life” came up. The gals in the room were all married, and a little over half of us are mamas. One of the sweet Not-Yet-Moms hesitantly expressed some concern that once she has kids (and she definitely wants one or some) her life will pretty much be over.
“But,” she added, “my husband said that, from what he could tell, you guys [pointing to us moms] seem to like your kids okay.”
We all assured her, that apart from those of us who might not have liked our screaming, squalling, colicky babies as much as a “good” mom should, that yes, we like our kids okay.
I took it a step further. “I like my kids a ton,” I said. “Like a lot. Like they’re some of my best friends.” And I meant it. And while I don’t want to be one of those moms whose world revolves around her children’s every happiness (mine revolves around my own every happiness. kidding. kind of. working on that), where was I? Oh, yeah. I’m not going to bend over backward so my kids will like me and want to be my friend.
But, at least for the moment, my girls are my friends. (Friends that I boss around and yell at for not picking up after themselves.) We like each other. We like spending time together. They make me laugh. Like really hard. They are smart and witty and sensitive and sweet and moody and pouty and fun.
They’re 9, 8 and 4, and I absolutely love this stage of their lives. Oh, I’ll have occasional twinges of missing their baby/toddler days. Like nursing and tiny toes and baby jibber-jabber. But not enough to go back (what’s that you say? not even an option? oh, okay.) And apart from the nursing thing, if I ever need some kind of a baby fix, my friends are popping them out like candy, and they’re always willing to share.
Amy’s darling little 6-month-old Gregor likes to flirt with me and bury his head in my shoulder. And I’ve gotten to cuddle with Amanda’s yummy baby Jace several times since he was born in July. And then I give him right back.
So now more than any other time in my life, I would like to stop the clock please. Nobody in diapers. Nobody in double-digits (for 3 more months). Nobody with drama (ha!). It’s beautiful.
And it’s not going to last very long.
Because nothing calm and peaceful ever does. (And if I’m honest, our girls are really not all that calm and peaceful. But if I’m even more honest, the times they drive me the most bonkers, it’s usually a result of my own selfishness.)
As I sat on my bed last night with my three sweeties gathered around me, taking turns reading from the Jesus Storybook Bible… Okay, let me press pause on that perfect little scenario for a sec, lest you start mentally bestowing honor upon me that I don’t deserve. I haven’t read out loud with my girls before bed in a painfully long time. Months. Or read the Bible (or Bible book, whatever) with them for even longer. I felt a very, very strong need (Holy Spirit) last night to start back up again.
So there we were on the bed, and I had every intention of reading a story myself when Livi asked if we could take turns. Livi likes to read but is not a huge fan of curling up and silently reading a book. She loves to read out loud though. Much like her mother at her age, she is in love with the sound of her own reading voice (I’m mostly over that myself).
I said sure and even decided to let Nina in on the action. And this is the part where I go off on a bunny-tangent. Nina will be 5 in January and has a very strong desire to learn things, reading especially. And here’s the tangent. I’ve talked about this before, but I might as well admit it again. I hated being “smart” when I was in school. I came home one afternoon after a miserable day in 6th grade and bawled my eyes out on my bed while my mom tried to comfort me. Kids were making fun of me for being smart, and I hate, hate, hated it.
Fast forward to having children of my own. While most mothers around me were doing everything they could to make sure their infants had educationally-appropriate toys and were pre-enrolled in college prep pre-schools, I was praying that my kids wouldn’t be smart.
Some of my friends find great delight in this story (AM, I’m talking to you!).
Another tangent. We have 3 girlies. They are all very different from each other. Yet 2 of them (the bookends) are much more alike than the cutie in the middle. The book ends are a little nerdier and more perfectionistic. The middle one is a social butterfly of a different color.
So the plan was to send them off to kindergarten without knowing a blessed thing. Then no one would make fun of them for being smart. (Please no comments. I can see my faulty/selfish line of reasoning for what it is now, thank you.)
It didn’t really work out with #1. She figured out the letters/numbers/reading thing in a heartbeat. And yes, has been made fun of (or at least pointed out) for being smart.
#2? She’s the one who got the shaft for me projecting my childhood angst on my own kiddos. She didn’t know any of her letters when she went to kindergarten (none of my girls have gone to preschool) and she struggled for quite awhile. Then in first grade, it suddenly clicked. And she loves to read the most of all my girls. And she does it very well. Spelling is another issue entirely, but what is spell check for, right?
And #3? Shoot. Her sisters play school with her all the time, and she can already read a little. As she took her turn in the Jesus Storybook Bible (looooooove this book, and I think I’ve posted about it before), I expected her to know a few words (a, the, did, saw) and I would just tell her the rest.
Um, okay, so she read the entire paragraph and the only word she didn’t know was “certainly.”
And that’s when I KNEW that it was time to stop the clock. And actually, I’ve been telling Little One that for quite awhile now. Stop growing, stop acting like you’re 10, stop having half-birthdays, stop reading 9-letter words.
Anyway. I’m way over my word count and I can’t even remember if I made the point I set out to make. And Little One herself is BEGGING me (for the 13th time) to play another game of Sorry. (For crying out loud. Will you hold on a stinking minute? Can’t you see that Mommy is busy writing a 1200-word blog post about how fast you’re growing up and how she doesn’t want to miss a single second of it?)
Question for you: In your current stage of life, do you find yourself wanting to stop the clock or fast forward a bit? And why?
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts! Happy Weekend!