Babies and small children are precious, and I tend to get a bit nostalgic for days gone by. My children are all adults now; the two youngest are in college. Having spent almost of all of my adult life as a parent, I am just now discovering what it is like to have some child-free time. Next week I will have them all around for a few days, and though things will likely be a little chaotic, I can’t imagine life without them. Though there are things I miss about them being small, there are other things I am thankful to have in the past.
They wash and dress themselves
I may not always agree with their clothing choices, but I don’t have a daily battle to get them out of their PJs. There are no complaints about shirts feeling itchy or not liking dresses/jeans/socks/sweaters today. There are no fights to brush teeth or bathe and no howls while combing long hair. When getting ready to go out as a family, I need to only worry about what I will wear.
We no longer have car seats
Stuffing squirmy little bodies into seats and rushing to buckle them in before they could get away is no one’s idea of fun. The game was made more challenging when they discovered how to unbuckle the seat on their own and climb out (sometimes while the car was moving). I remember having to toss one or two seats into the trunk on the rare occasions we had only adult passengers (and the requisite Cheerios and Goldfish that insisted on hiding under said seats). Yep, glad those days are over.
They can drive themselves places
This sometimes means I have to coordinate schedules since we don’t have as many cars as drivers, but I am no longer the designated chauffer. A bonus is that I can generally find someone willing to run to the store when I find I am missing an ingredient for dinner.
They sleep past dawn
Now sometimes they sleep well past dawn, and this can be a problem. But, since I am not a morning person, I’ll accept that compromise. Having a cup of coffee in peace, sometimes alone, is a special joy. Being able to smile and cheerfully say “Good morning,” when I do see them is a sweet revenge.
We enjoy the same television shows
Nowadays, I get to watch grown-up shows. No more Caillou for me (happy dance). Even better, many of the shows I enjoy, one or more of my kids do too. We watch together (sometimes even remotely) and chat about the characters and plots.
They are intellectually curious and good conversationalists
We have real discussions. Learning something new is a constant. They accept that education is a lifelong process and regularly seek out new information and explore new ideas. There are some topics that they know more about than I do and we switch roles; I become the pupil.
They are kind, thoughtful and protective
They are good people; they worry about others. They each have a very diverse group of friends and are considerate of how things look and sound. They tend to choose their words carefully and do their best to not offend. (Of course, all bets are off when they talk to each other.) They don’t hesitate to call out what they see as injustices and have no tolerance for any sort of -ism.
If I am having a bad day, it is not unusual for me to find a special treat and/or note waiting for me. They send each other cute memes, stories and links. Their dedication to loved ones is fierce. I wouldn’t want to tangle with any of them. Thankfully, I don’t have to; we are generally on the same side. (Despite the fact they are not always so nice to each other, heaven help anyone who hurts one of their siblings.)
They are four very different people, so when they are all around, you are not quite sure if you are going to witness affection or fireworks. They all have some things in common with each other, so even when they disagree, there is usually an ally. Overall, they are wonderful kids and I consider myself one lucky momma.