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I wrote this last Thursday, and had planned on posting it on Friday, but did not due to the shocking and horrific slaughter of 20 children and 6 adults in Newtown. I’m posting it now, unaltered, and mean it more than ever: I just want to freeze my kids the way they are right now – the good and the bad. Because they’re safe and innocent.
I did not have a ton of patience when my kids were little. I wasn’t horrible or anything, but I always felt like I was waiting for the next stage. Babies are cute, but I hated dealing with diapers and the other bodily fluids. Perhaps it would have been different if I’d been running around with a cell phone showing the world how cute they were all the time, but they were a smidge too young for that phenomenon, so instead my memories of adorable baby moments are completely mixed in with poop explosions and lonely days. I had tried a few different playgroups and classes, but it just wasn’t my thing.
I wanted to love hanging out with my kids, but I didn’t. Before I paint a really terrible picture here, everything was good – I loved my kids intensely, we were all very comfortable and happy, and life was good. But I wasn’t buddies with them. They were there to be taken care of and kept safe more than anything. And while I felt extraordinarily lucky to be able to stay home with them, I was relieved to put them in a pre-school a couple days a week starting at two years old. Being away from them a bit made me enjoy them more when we were together.
But still, I always felt like I was waiting for the next stage. When they wouldn’t need my help in a public bathroom. When they wouldn’t embarrass me in restaurants. When they wouldn’t drive me crazy on airplanes. When they weren’t likely to run into streets and drink drain cleaner and choke on grapes and popcorn. A time when we could just hang out. I never wanted to be friends with my kids, but I did yearn to be more relaxed around them.
And now we’re here.
And I want to freeze things.
My kids are eight and eleven, and I feel like I’m in a magical stage where they don’t need me every minute, but still need me enough. Where they no longer need my day-to-day care and protection so much, and instead need my advice and guidance.
They’re old enough to be exploring their independence, but still young enough that they don’t have to deal with the really scary stuff yet.
But it’s there, on the horizon. Bullying, sex, drinking, drugs, driving…
The other day I had a discussion with Jake’s pediatrician about Gardasil (the vaccination that helps protect against HPV, which can lead to many different kinds of cancers, and other nasty sexually transmitted diseases). And the discussion was jarring, because it was the first concrete admission that my kids would one day have sex.
In a way I can’t wait to see what life has in store for them. My kids are bright and curious and have so much potential. But for the first time in their lives, I really wish I could hit a pause button for a few years, and just enjoy this relatively easy phase for a while. The stuff ahead is so much scarier than what’s in the rear-view mirror.
Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 0. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information.