I feel like I’ve had a lot of “wow!” moments lately. Moments when I’m in the company of my kids, doing random things, and it suddenly dawns on me that, “Wow! We did it… Nick and I… we got them this far!” And we all survived, miraculously. Because, trust me, there were many days/weeks/years when I wondered whether I would survive and how I would possibly make it to the next stage with my kid(s).
Which is not to say that I think we’re out of the woods, by any stretch of the imagination. I know better than that! We have years and years of challenges ahead of us, and those thoughts keep me awake some nights and cause me to break out in a cold sweat. But, that’s not what this post is about… (let me just have this moment, k??)
Tonight, I was sitting at the kitchen table with my kids, eating a gourmet dinner that consisted of Ramen noodles, Ramen noodles, and more Ramen noodles. And the three of us were talking and laughing the whole time. And I had another “wow!” moment. It just amazes me, every day, that Damon and Avery are so grown up all of a sudden. I know I’ve been with them every single step of the way, so this shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to me… like it might to a long-lost relative who hasn’t seen them in years. I’ve definitely seen them. Every day. Yet, somehow they’ve grown and changed right before my eyes.
Suddenly, my babies aren’t babies. They aren’t toddlers… or tweens, even. They’re walking, talking, breathing, laughing PEOPLE… little people that think their own thoughts, make their own jokes, feel their own feelings, have their own senses of humor. It’s just… wow! That’s the only way I can describe it!
And after years and years and YEARS of caring for babies and toddlers, suddenly I don’t do that much “caring for” anymore. My kids feed themselves, use the toilet themselves, pour their own drinks, sometimes make their own food, clean their own rooms (at least they’re CAPABLE of that particular chore!), dress themselves, fasten their own seatbelts, go to sleep at night with no fussing, etc. The list goes on and on. All of those things that they used to rely on me to do for them… that was my job for a long time. A job that I resented sometimes and left me absolutely, utterly exhausted for years of my life.
Yet, now, it’s all behind me.
And with that realization comes a huge wave of relief, lots of self-congratulating, and then… sadness. It really is bittersweet. My kids are growing and changing right before my eyes… and, although they’ll still need me for a loooong time and I know that, they need me in totally different ways now. And that is wonderful and horrible, all at the same time.
But, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, tonight I’m so incredibly thankful that we’ve survived these last 9 years. Nick and I are the parents of two happy, healthy, intelligent, fully operational, and absolutely adorable people. And they both make me laugh, every day. I could ask for more, but I wouldn’t dream of it. (High five, Witschey! We did it!!)