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As parents, there is very little that hubby and I want more than to just let our children be who they are. We want to expose them to whatever we can and let them choose what is right for them. I know that it’s not possible to open every single door out there and that there is certainly more than enough bias just from what we value being passed along to them. We aren’t going out of our way to show them things that aren’t true to who we are, for better or worse, but we are letting things be when our kids take interest in what we’re interested in.
I think the best we can do as mom and dad and the most trusted human beings for these two small people today is to lay a foundation with how we live and what we value and if they accept that and want to learn more, great and if they show interest in something more than that, we’ll do what we can there as well.
As an example, I always said from before we even started thinking about having children that I NEVER wanted to have a daughter take ballet classes. I suffered from anorexia for a long time and my sisters-in-law all did ballet at some point and as a result starved themselves. So I related ballet to anorexia and never wanted my child to go through that for something so silly as dance classes. I was never a dancer. I’m very uncoordinated.
Fast-forward a few years and we have ourselves a three year old who LOVES all things girly, all things princessy and all things ballet. I don’t know when or how it even started. She maybe read a book about Angelina Ballerina or something but whatever it was, she was hooked. She owns leotards, she does plies, and she begs to take ballet classes. And we’ll put her in them as soon as we find a class that accepts her age. Because she wants to. I just have to take a deep breath and let be what is.
I actually remember from early on in my first pregnancy, that I was afraid to have a girl. I wanted a boy to watch football with, to play rough with in the yard and to make fun of ballerinas with. I hated the color pink and all things girly. Then reality struck. And I was given the most beautiful gift that is my daughter, who shows me every day how to challenge my beliefs, she shows me that it’s okay for things not be as we expected and just to love and embrace what is. She has shown me to just let it be. She loves pink, ballet, princesses, and everything girly you can imagine.
Now we have our son, he’s 13 months now and we’re starting to see that he is a little guy who will challenge our thoughts and ideas about the world and people also. He’s a sensitive guy. So far, he shows no interest in sports, much to my chagrin.
Both of our kids, as young as they are, Drew 3 1/2 and Eli 1, have shown a keen interest in the project that is our home remodel. Both of them have found tools and projects beyond interesting. Drew has named herself “Daddy’s big helper” and Eli is right there in the middle of whatever he can be in the middle of.
As parents, we have both stepped back. We don’t take hammers away, we don’t stop them from climbing the ladder. We just let them be. They are, after all, learning. And they may or may not take from this time in our lives an appreciation for remodeling and home improvement projects, but all we can do today is let them take interest in what they like. We’ll keep letting them be involved and enjoying the moment as it is. There are only so many moments when they’re little. Neither one of us wants to steer who they are or what they become so we’ll keep just sitting back and letting them explore their world, learning new things and finding their way. We’ll keep just letting them be.
I have this really bad personality trait. I want things and I need things for myself to, you know, stay sane in my life. But I don’t ask for them. I know it’s a fault. I get told so very often that if I need something just to say so. Then other people know and can help me. This falls into all different areas of my life. I don’t like to feel like I have to ask for things in order for them to happen. I guess it all comes down to, in my mind, feeling like people are genuinely doing something they want to if they offer. Otherwise I am just putting them out and I hate that. Hate it. I know it’s not always the case. Sometimes people just don’t know or don’t think of it and would be happy to help once they know that I want or need something.
This happens a lot with hubby and I. I go weeks and week without a moment to myself and then I end up resenting that he never does anything to help me or to give me space. I know he doesn’t think of it on his own. He thinks if I need it, I’ll just take the time for myself. Again, though, I feel like I am putting him out to do that without him offering. I have to get over this, I know. Or else I’ll go more insane than I already am.
So today, when hubs called from work on his lunch break, I asked if he would mind taking the kids to the playground for a while when he got home. I thought he’d mumble and grumble like I am uber bitch of the universe for asking. Astonishingly, he was happy to do so. He got home, took a shower and headed out with both of them.
For 2 blissful hours, I had the house to myself. I did my cardio pilates DVD which has, embarrassingly, been in it’s wrapper until today even though I bought it like 2 weeks ago. Before the actual exercises started, there was a little blurb about how I was going to learn to strengthen my core muscles, feel more energetic and lose weight. Fabulous! Sign me up! I need all of those things! I got my butt kicked by that DVD. For 50 minutes I did those exercises. I was actually quite proud that for never having done pilates before, I did every move in the DVD and I actually felt the proper muscles being worked. In my favor, I’ve done yoga a lot and they’re quite similar. The good news is that I am not in as bad of shape as I thought but the bad news is I am very far from being able to touch my toes. Oh well, maybe next week.
I did my DVD, then curled up with a glass of wine and a magazine, chatted online for a bit and just overall had a relaxing afternoon. Hubby and the kids got home and none of them wanted anything to do with me. Apparently they started this “we went to the playground together” exclusive club.
I forgot how much just a little me time recharges me, makes me more energized and ready to plug in with my family. It is draining day in and day out just me and the kids from the moment I wake until nearly the moment I go to bed. Today though was different and I liked it!
I wasn’t able to sleep much last night. Not sure why. It wasn’t one of those tossing and turning with too much on my mind anxiety ridden nights. I. Just. Couldn’t. Sleep.
4:30 a.m. came around and hubby’s alarm went off so instead of laying in bed trying to wish myself back to sleep, I got up with him and we sat in the living room and chatted over coffee. It was nice and relaxing. We talked about upcoming plans for the house, tossed around ideas for what to do next, even talked a bit about summer vacation plans and we laughed and talked about the kids and how lucky we are and how amazing they are.
In the conversation, the current project of stuccoing the exterior of our house came up. Hubby said “I guess it was worth a year of no siding on the house for you to be able to be home with the kids” and went on to say how happy he is that I am home with them raising them to be the wonderful people they are.
It occurred to me that I completely take that for granted now. I used to always think about how because I was home, I was sacrificing this that or the other thing. Now it’s so normal to me, 2 1/2 years after quitting my job to stay home, that I don’t think of the things we have to put off in terms of it being at the cost of me being home.
On the positive side, not constantly having to think about life in terms of one or two paychecks is a blessing. I truly have found happiness in my life when I am not constantly thinking that if only I had a job, we could do, be, have more. I have become quite comfortable in the lovely little life we’ve made since I left work. When I left my job, I remember being worried that I’d really miss my paycheck, my long uninterrupted lunches, even just the ability to go to the bathroom by myself. I also feared the loss of that income and the stuff I wouldn’t be able to do or have. Things sure do change when you become a full time mom. I am grateful that we simplified to a life I never knew could be so fulfilling and feel so natural.
And so, today, I am reminded that although we are making sacrifices for the good of our children, they are well worth it. The job is often a thankless one but that’s okay. It’s often selfless and draining but at the end of the day, 100% rewarding. I need to remind myself more often that things could be far different if we hadn’t made the right choices leading up to this. That hard work has paid off for us. It hasn’t made it a cakewalk, but it made it possible for me to spend these most formative years with two amazing people. Watching them grow and learn and love and laugh has been totally worth it.
This past week, my house has been spotless.
It’s been a real emotional rollercoaster the past few days. A week ago, I weaned my baby boy from nursing. He was biting me and it was becoming less than fun for both of us so we called it quits. The transition has gone much more smoothly than I ever could’ve imagined. He’s happier, less clingy, eats like a piggy, and has started to sleep through the night finally. Which is probably the single best thing that has come out of the past week. Last Wednesday, he turned one year old and we had a fun time celebrating. Then on Friday, he had his 1 year doctor’s appointment. He got weighed and has gained 9 oz in the past 3 months. The doctor was concerned and ordered a bunch of blood tests. *sigh* Hubby spent the afternoon with him at the hospital getting blood taken and we were told we’d have the results this morning.
They were testing for Celiac disease and doing a test to check and make sure his liver and kidneys are functioning properly along with some other stuff. I spent the weekend telling myself that there is nothing to worry about. Sure, he’s thin, but so am I and we do share some of the same genes. I also spent a good amount of time talking myself into other things that could be wrong and just in general have been a neurotic basketcase for a few days.
So this morning arrives and I call the office at 8:30 on the nose and ask for the results. They take my information and say they’ll call back shortly. I get a call and it’s the nurse asking me to hold for the doctor. My heart stops because I’m sure the reason the doctor has to get on the phone is to tell me really bad news. He tells me that my little guy is anemic. *whew* That’s certainly not anything terrible to worry about. He then tells me that at the lab on Friday, they didn’t do one of the tests he requested, specifically the Complete Metabolic Panel which tells kidney and liver function. So I had to take him back to the lab to get another needle in the arm for that test this morning. Not how I had planned to spend any amount of today. It went okay. I want it all to be over.
We hear on that test tomorrow and we’ll hear on the panel for Celiac by the end of the week, hopefully. I know that no matter what comes of this, he’ll always be my perfect little man and we’ll just do what we have to do. I hate the waiting and the limbo though.
So in the meantime I clean and then clean some more.
I had one of those evenings. A few hours where I just was able to slow down and look at the life I have going on and appreciate it. My hubby came home and said he’d make dinner and clean up (and even though he fell asleep on the couch before the kitchen was clean it’s the thought that counts, right?) and he told me he arranged a credit at a landscaping place in town and I have the afternoon tomorrow to go pick out plants/trees/flowers for the yard and house. I am not sure what I am more excited about – the landscaping or the shopping by myself
The kids have been so great. Drew put on a princess dress tonight and her princess high heels and grabbed some flowers from a vase and said to her daddy “will you be my valentine and marry me?” and Eli – well, he’s tired today because he barely napped but he’s just been so cute and snuggly.
Hubby – well, he’s been great too. He’s tired. He’s worked so hard for so long. He gives all of himself to everything he does. And then comes home to offer as much as he has left to his family in smiles and giggles and games and love.
Putting the kids to bed tonight I had that overwhelming feeling of how lucky I am. How fortunate I am to have two very healthy and happy kids and a loving and hardworking husband. As I read books with Drew and snuggled in the rocking chair with Eli I thought of how every moment could be my last. Or their last. In life you just never know. And I have my times of being frustrated and just wanting time for myself or just wanting them to go to bed sooner or whatever. But I let all that go and I just enjoyed it. Enjoyed the snuggles and hugs and stories and giggles and forgot about anything other than just being what they needed. With the thoughts in my mind “what if this is the last time I ever read her a story?” or “what if this is the last time I ever snuggle my son?” and “what if I never get to tell him I love him again?” I made sure it was special. It made me stop and slow down and remember what is really important. Why I am here. What time my kids go to bed doesn’t matter. I just want them to know they are loved. Know that their mom would do anything for them. I want my baby girl to remember me brushing her hair and singing her songs before bed. I want my baby boy to remember me giggling with him and carrying him around showing him the amazing things there are to see in the world.
I can’t ever be sure they’ll remember me for those things if this day were my last. But I tried. I can only give them a footprint. A part of me to remember. I vow to make that me a smiling and appreciative me. A me that would do anything for them and give anything for them. A me that loves them more than anything else in the world and appreciates them for all that they are and all that they dream to be.