May 31, 2014

Breathing room

It's no secret that I have not been a big fan of the younger years with my kids. I certainly enjoyed many aspects of my kids as babies and toddlers. But mostly I've had to force myself to see the good points while looking forward to later years.

At the end of April, S turned 4 and we had "an orange dinosaur cake" for him. He knows what he likes!

He also finished his first year of Cubbies, and got his first ribbon for his accomplishments. He really was glad, despite his face.

K turned 8 on Sunday. He will be done with 1st grade in 7 more days, after a truly wonderful year in a school that he loves more than I even hoped.

He loves fishing, reading, Pokemon, drawing, games and is amazingly empathetic for a kid. We are so proud of him and the boy he's becoming.

And now I finally feel like I have room to breathe in life. No more diapers, very few middle of the night encounters. K is almost done with his booster seat and S is out of the big, bulky 5-point harness car seat. They can walk to and from the car themselves and help me carry things too. We can have discussions about life, behavior, chores, expectations, concerns, interests.

We've decided that S will do a two day, couple of hour pre-school program in the neighborhood starting in the fall. It's mostly play based, so it is a good way for him to have some time with other kids. The rest of the time, I still get to have him home and help guide him and teach him the way we have been. This year was a bit tough for him with K at school and branching out with his own friendships, apart from S. So I think he will really enjoy having something of his own to do and new kids to play with.

I'm so pleased with this phase of life. I feel like I have some more control, even if I don't yet have much free time. :) I love seeing who my boys are becoming. Watching them develop and deepen their interests and personalities is wonderful. In the younger years, I often got to helpless moments, feeling like nothing would change and that possibly nothing we were doing had any real effect on them. As they grow, there is evidence that all the love, planning and attention we've given really do help. That is such a blessing.

Along with this new phase comes the understanding that older parents starting giving us pretty much as soon as they knew we were going to have a baby: to enjoy "these years, they go so quickly".  That advice REALLY doesn't help when you have a baby who never sleeps or is colicky or won't move more than four feet from you for weeks at a time. But with some distance, literal and figurative, I can finally understand and genuinely feel the meaning behind the advice. 

Ten years from now, K will be getting ready to go to college. S will be starting high school. We won't be seeing them quite as much, they won't be jumping into bed to cuddle with us, we might not even get many meals together by then. So, I think I am in a place to really start embracing the now more and more. Not perfectly of course, but in a different way than I was able to before. 

My favorite times are the silly ones:
K wearing some "armor" rings at Anthropologie.

And posing with a statue downtown.

S decided to dress in my winter gear for dinner.

But a close second are our cuddle times on the couch, or before bed:

Thankful for these days.

1 comment:

  1. I love reading your take on parenthood, and the transition your kids are going through. I fully understand and felt the same way when our kids were very small. I love this independent age they are now in. BTW, love the last picture - K looks so much like Jim.