I've been thinking a lot about parenthood lately. How it evolves into something different the longer we're at it. As we get each package of perks and trials that come with each new-to-us-to-parent age we are teaching. How it all starts out with cute baby clothes and racking the brain at how to decorate the room with the first. And then 5 years later the things I care about/ worry about are so much more heavy and important. And this is only age 5. I am frightened to know the gray that will be in my hair when we approach the experience of parenting a teenager.
I had a really hard day with my oldest and ran into a friend who had no idea the frustration in my gut that moment. The friend asked about my son and what he is currently "into". I couldn't match the smile the other person had, I was gritting my teeth and the only honest reply I could think of was that my son was "into" driving me crazy. That moment I truly felt that was his only purpose. That he woke up and blitzed out all the ways he would disobey and make me angry. Like I said, it was up there with one of the harder days yet.
I spent the week coming up blank as I thought more and more about what he likes. His birthday was approaching and I was feeling like such a loser mom. And also concerned about this little boy of mine who didn't seem to be smiling very much; just getting into trouble. I was worried about how he was feeling as well. I called Mike and asked for his help reminding me what our little boy liked. He had loads of answers. Which made me smile and glad to remember how well he knows our son. We hung up and I felt worse. I spend every day with this child and I am coming up blank?
I found what Mike told me on the phone true- that he does like transformers, spiderman, star wars, etc. I also realized the times he smiles the biggest haven't been around. The things that make him laugh have been on hold. The Silly Mom was extinguished and that was what Zane is into (essentially laughing, not necessarily me). Those are my favorite memories and possibly his, too. Making silly faces at each other, guessing each others' movie quotes, playing chase or Lightsabers, being his tickle monster, etc. Our transition to three had left me, initially, a little empty of the extra he seems to need. That goofy part of me that normally comes the most natural of all. The part of me that returns after survival mode has passed. And finds his happy list is endless; not blank.
He has some tough behaviors I can't change even on the best of mommy days, but there are certainly fewer tough days with him when we laugh together more often.
And with parenthood, although the worry grows larger with time, so does the greater availability to share with our children the things we really enjoy. Be it video games, walking on the beach, music, a certain food, fishing, exploring a new place, being outside, cross stitching, reading, singing, whatever we love doing it's so much more fun to bring our kids along to enjoy that love and expose them to it. We're a much healthier family unit that way.
This week we're going to spend time hanging out with my drums again. There's not a better way to spend time with someone than to share with them something you love, but also sharing time with that person doing with them what they love, too. I know that will mean going to the park for Zane, he's also "into" the park. I love that kid. I'm glad his Fun Mommy is finding herself again. I've missed her, too.
ps. I love how this picture make it look like I am on stilts with a massive cloak on.