I have come to the conclusion (I'm a late learner) that this time with my kids while they're small is going to be the hardest but best part of my life. Their love and acceptance is so pure and honest it recharges your faith in humanity - which is tested daily by adults, trust me . They also still really like us. They harbor no grudges yet. No still means no and bedtime is still when we say it is. I believe the kid part of us is the best part of who we become as adults. I know I'm stating a lot of the obvious, but it's sometimes the obvious we don't pay attention to as much as we should.
My daughter's real birthday was last week on a weekday. I didn't think much about it other than to get up early so I could make her favorite breakfast, chocolate chip pancakes. As I was getting ready to leave for work she said "Mom, my 6th birthday only comes once. Can you please not go to work and walk me to (summer) school?" My answer should have been yes and I should have called in sick to work. But, I didn't. I went to work and promised her I'd do something special for her when I got home. I thought she'd get past it. That night, I was talking to my mother-in-law and she said she asked Emma if she had a good day and she said "No." I was surprised. What could have gone wrong? I pressed further for the answer and she said Emma told her "I didn't have a good day because my mom went to work." After taking some time to think about it, I realized that this was the first time in her life that I hadn't been home for her birthday. I decided right then and there, I was NEVER missing another kids birthday again. I have vacation and sick time and I'll be using it.
Our lives have become about the kids. Everything I work for, everything I hope for and most things I dream of involve my children, yet sometimes in that plight to do what's best you miss the importance of why you're doing it. Kids constantly need something from someone and you get so wrapped up in just covering the need that you lose focus on the path to getting things done. As they get older, I know this will change because their sufficiency capacity will increase. I already see it with my oldest child who doesn't need me to get her a drink anymore. She's perfectly fine finding a way to get it herself. In the big shuffle of everyday life I find that I haven't paid close attention to the obvious- like the coo of a baby or the inability of a 3 year old to correctly pronounce words (Elmo vs Elbow or helicopter vs helicracker).
I'm finding that with this last child, I really hang onto everything she does. I wish I would've done that with the others. I wish I could have found a way to slow down. My sweet Itty-Bitty girl has now moved on to full crawling and those sweet newborn firsts have passed forever. There will be no more little babies in our house after this one. I'm excited and sad at the same time to see how all of our lives evolve. I'm also going to make it a point to focus on the obvious. It's the easiest change to make - it's right there in front of me, I just need to learn to pay attention.