Sunday, 9 October 2011

The hard part of parenting

Much earlier today, two in the morning-ish, I took stock of my life. I had Deaglan in the crook of one arm scrunched in close while Naveen snored softly on my other side. For an instant I felt sorry for myself wondering when I’d ever get a full night’s rest again.

My self-pity didn’t last long.

Truth is, from the moment I met them, the inevitability that they’d someday leave has never been far from my thoughts; a thrum and dull ache reminding me to drink this all in. Too easily I fast forward my life, the way old micro fiche machines flip through archived newspaper articles, stopping to read the headlines:

Age 15 Teenagers Hole up in Bedrooms to Escape Always-Wrong Irritating Parents!

Age 19 Big Move to University Town to Taste Sweet Freedom!

Age 25 Too Busy Career-Building to Come Home!

I’ve been gifted (cursed?) with the awareness of how fleeting all this is. I know that as full as my arms are today, they will ache with emptiness again. That even the hardest parts – lack of sleep, picky eating, the tantrums, even these will seem like nothing compared to the hardship of letting them fly.

Of letting them go.

Shaune and I are sometimes foolhardy enough to try and scheme ways to outsmart the system: Last night we were wondering how we’d take the news when someday one or both of our boys announced that they’d be spending Thanksgiving with the families of their wives.

“Hopefully, their wives are estranged from their parents.” Shaune offered.

“Yes!” I agreed. “Maybe Deaglan and Naveen will be married to orphans!”

Old Navy had their costumes half-off this week. Although Deaglan will actually be a ghost this Halloween, he's insisted on sleeping in this every night since we brought it home. And although this is the best shot we could get of Naveen, there are little dragon wings and a dragon tail on his back that make it hard for us to want to take this costume off of him. Even when he's made it clear he's had enough of being our entertainment.


  1. First, I completely understand the "soaking it all in" syndrome. I know it all passes too quickly. All I have to do is look back a year or two on the blogs to see how much the kids have changed. I wish I could freeze moments to relive over and over.

    Secondly, those costumes are just too cute. Thanks for the preview.

  2. Oh, they are just too cute in their little costumes!
    And for your sake (and mine), I'm hoping all of our kids marry orphans ;)

  3. i know exactly how you feel. I have thought those same thoughts! Almost every night...i have the two girls in my arms....and i think when am I going to get to sleep all night!?! and then I think....they arent going to be babies for much longer!

  4. My husband keeps reminding me that boys always leave their families for the families of their wives. I'm in denial and like you hope they marry orphans! Besides, no mother-in-law could ever be as cool as me, right??

    They look absolutely adorable in their costumes.

  5. Oh they are so cute in those costumes!

    I try not to think of those drifting off days. It bums me out too much!

  6. Kim, bless you, my friend for being such a wise parent-Shaune too. Our time with our kids is so fleeting-believe me, I know:) We know from the start that our kids will leave us someday-but there comes a point, at least for me, that it hit home like a ton of bricks. I'm not looking forward to it at all and it will be a huge adjustment.

    For some reason, Amy doesn't like my idea of having her repeat every grade either. That way, she wouldn't graduate from high school until she was in her 30's! I think it's a splendid idea;)

  7. Oh darn, my daughter likes her soon to be mother-in-law, but I know I get top billing. At least, I'd better!

    It really is sad though when they go. Hang on to your little costumed cuties as long as you can!

  8. Right now I choose not to think that my tot will grow his wings. He's 3yo and I enjoy every minute, his tantrums and sometimes erratic behavior maybe a little less than his snuggles and kisses. ;-) But I know that the good memories will stay with me forever.
    And his future wife will be estranged from her parents. :-)

  9. Your kids look just adorable in those costumes!
    I liked what Shaune said "Hopefully, their wives are estranged from their parents" - that's being very optimistic! ;)

  10. I can't even imagine Donut moving out--or letting me be by myself for more than 5 minutes! I love that Deaglan has been sleeping in his costume!

  11. I remember when my daughter was just entering unvivercity and decided she would go back and live with her father. I thought what the hell do I do now - 38 and my role as 'mother' is done. I decided that I would travel... but how would I do that if I didn't even drive on the freeways... the next Sunday morning I got up and took my car out on the freeway, went on, went off....the next weekend I drove from Houston to Memphis by myself.... within 5 years I was married to Camillo and traveling everywhere.... then I had grandchildren... life hurts, then it changes. Have a backup plan incase they don't come home for Christmas. enjoy them when they do visit without retribution - no guilt trips... then they come as often as they can. and life is good.

  12. eekkk - my spelling and typing is extra bad this early in the morning... visiting my daughter and granddaughter - my sleeping is screwed and .... well the rest is self-explanatory... did I do that right? UNIversity.... LOL

  13. The trick is for your boys to meet girls that have moved away for college/ jobs and decided to stay. That way, you get them for holidays etc, because it's too far to travel back to her parents, without any scary mommy/ daddy issues.....

    Good Luck with that.

    A second option will be to blackmail them into spending Christmas with you with these adorable pictures :-)

  14. Your conversation made me laugh. Yes, hopefully orphans! If not, maybe you should make them sign a Thanksgiving contract. :)

    Your boys are adorable!!!

  15. Orphans, yes!! I am going to hope for that, too! :) Cute costumes!!

  16. They have beautiful names to go with their gorgeous faces! I don't ever think about when my son grows up. I'm firmly entrenched in the "now."

    But yeah, it would be cool if he married an orphan. I'm down with that.

    Great costumes!

  17. As a fellow mom of two boys, I think about this far too often. Especially since we do holidays way more with my family than my husband's, and his mom complains about it like nobody's business! Sigh. Maybe I'll like my sons' in-laws and we can all do holidays together? Or the orphan thing.

    LOVE the costumes.

  18. Maybe I am backward, but I look forward to my kid(s) growing up. I can't wait to shop for prom night outfits, to take them on college tours, to advise them on their major and internships, to help them move into their first apartment, to help my daughter pick out her wedding dress/my son's shop for an engagement ring, to be there when they become parents, to split holidays with in-laws. Am I crazy?

  19. Being aware of the passing of time allows you this blessing: being present.

    I read this amazing quote today from the Dalai Lama and am digging it up just for you.

    In regard to what surprises him: "Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived."

  20. I am terrible at soaking it all in...mainly because I am a very selfish person who doesn't want to be inconvenienced by my 6-year-old. Ever! It's terrible!

    On a more serious note, you always remind me of what's important. Thank you for that.

  21. I'm going through some of those teen letting go pangs now. I feel like even my 8 year old is turning into a 15 year old some days. They grow up too fast.

    Hey when we are "slightly" older, if all our kids go off somewhere else for the holidays, I'll just have to go up and hang out with you for a cup of cocoa and some laughs. With good friends, we'll get through everything... Hugs...

  22. It is indeed fleeting and the letting go is tough. But there is much to treasure in their teen years and beyond. I am at this moment eagerly awaiting the arrival of my older son home for fall break.

  23. Your boys look absolutely adorable!!! We still need to shop with/for Noah! :O
    Well, your post moved me. You are so insightful and conscious and I really do thank God that I found you. You help me reflect on things that I sometimes forget about. ;) I spend so much time with Noah with his school commute and his homework. Those times can frequently become quite unpleasant. I need to remember he is my miracle boy and that I am truly blessed. I need to savor all of my time with him and let him still take my breath away...much love my friend. :)

  24. Yup, I'm dreading the holidays at the in-laws thing too. I'm hoping that if the girls they marry aren't orphans, that at least they have amazing parents that want to spend the holidays with all of us. The more the merrier!


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