Friday, May 24, 2013

Hard and Wonderful: A Mother's Story

Do you ever find yourself accidentally blogging in other people's FB status comments? A friend of mine, a mom of a stubborn little one, expressed frustration and hope that it would get easier somewhere along the way. And after some light joking around, this came out...

I think, in truth, that every age is wonderful and every age is hard. They're just different kinds of wonderful and hard. When my girls were little, I was so physically exhausted and was sure I was going to die between all the diaper changes and feedings and everything you have to make sure gets done... but you got the baby snuggles and the smell of baby head.

And then they got a little older and we passed by the diaper changes and feedings, and got to potty training and 3-year-old stubbornness and trying to kill each other and the necessity of duct tape. But instead of baby head smell and baby snuggles, I got chubby little girl arms around my neck and the childhood thrill of exploration.

And then they got a little older and we left 3 year old stubbornness behind, but stumbled across the challenges of school. Gone was potty training and duct tape, but instead we dealt with homework anguish, the heartbrokenness of friend trouble, and the reality that our circle was getting bigger and it was no longer something I could just control all the time. And gone were the little girl chubby arms, but instead I found my little girls turning into people with thoughts and questions and the ability to carry on a conversation that didn't center around Elmo or the Teletubbies.

And then they got a little older and now we are leaving behind that tender school age and entering teenage hormones. The homework and friend troubles are still here but we've learned to adapt. And now we're dealing with early teenage craziness with random bouts of insanity. In fact, even as I type this, Alicia is banging around the kitchen in an attempt to punish me for asking her to let the dog out while she was in the middle of getting her water. No, don't worry, that shouldn't make any sense to you either. But, I also get to spend time with these wonderful little girls-turned-young-women and have interesting conversations and fun times and read books together and listen to music-that-isn't-too-awful together. Just yesterday, I took Alicia and one of her friends out to ice cream. I offered to sit at a different table so as not to taint their ice cream date with my old-person-uncoolness, but I was invited to stay.

And then will come high school, which will have its own struggles, but its own blessings. And college. And young adulthood. And not-so-young adulthood.

And if there's anything I've learned from observing my mom, it's that this thing doesn't ever stop. My sister, with a 2 year old boy and a newborn baby girl, is getting ready to pack up her entire family in a couple cars and move, by car, from Alaska to Oregon. A 5 (at least) day drive. We all think she's insane. And, of course, my mom is neurotically worried... because she's the mom and you don't ever stop being the mom.

And being the mom comes with hard things that change all the time. They don't get easier, they just get different. But being the mom also comes with equally wonderful things that don't ever get less wonderful, but they do get different.

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