I have the same number of kids as my parents... It feels strange to type that out. To think about that. It felt strange when we put two kids in a stroller late Saturday evening for a walk through our local park. The temperatures were dropping quickly, as was the sun and it all reminded me of so many walks I used to take with my parents as a little kid. Specifically, it reminded me of our walks when we lived in England and the sun would disappear by late afternoon in the fall and a persistent mossy odor and ever present veil of moisture hung in the air. My brother and I would kick up puffs of leaves with our feet, always hoping to come upon a hedgehog, or better yet, a baby hedgehog. I also remember always hearing the voices of my parents, deep in conversation, at the nape of my neck. I used to wonder what they could possibly discuss for so long... Now I know.
I know that my parents were probably keeping one very watchful eye on us and sneaking glances at each other with the other one. I know that they probably talked about grocery shopping, personal goals, what we should have for dinner, dreams of the future and how they hoped we wouldn't get sick this fall. I know that their heart probably swelled when we did something adorable and stopped when we did something dangerous. I know they were probably tired, overwhelmed, anxious and happy. Because that's life as a parent - 50 percent awesome and 50 percent hard.
Sometimes when I think about the fact that every moment, every activity, smile, walk, song and dance party is like a tiny pebble that is filling up these little humans with memories that they will have ownership of I feel totally overwhelmed. It is terrifying to have so much responsibility. A part of me, the OCD part, wants everything to be perfect, to create that storybook childhood. Yet I am well aware that that is impossible. So I do the next best thing and I hope that they remember the really good stuff.
Like the time we shared a bag of chips and cups of apple cider while her brother was sleeping and colored in between bites and sips. Or the time she held my hand through our entire walk, only letting go when she spotted a rock that needed to be picked up or a butterfly that needed to be pointed out. Our our goodnight kisses and good morning hugs. I hope she remembers that I baked all those cookies just for her, even if she just takes one bite of it before getting distracted with something better. I hope that she knows that she's responsible for the best memories of my life. And I hope he knows that just when I thought I couldn't possibly have room for any more pebbles he came in and exploded the whole jar.
I recently came across a piece that someone wonderful wrote about parenting and I thought it was just too good not to share. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did:
"People tell you a lot about how much parenting will change your life and they’re right. But usually they mean that you won’t ever sleep in again (you won’t) and a few other things about how much we “give up” to become parents. No one tells you how much you’re going to laugh. No one tells you how much wisdom resides in these small humans, how much they will teach you about love and life and friendship and forgiveness and worship. No one tells you how good and freeing it is to leave your selfishness behind. No one tells you about recapturing your own wonder and innocence, about re-reading the Ramona books, about playing football in the basement, about birthday parties and snow days and every day beauty. All the best things I know about the big nouns and verbs of a life came back into my life because of them." - Sarah Bessey
I am loving this new season of life as a family of four. There are so many dirty diapers and messes and tears but goodness gracious there is SO much GOOD.