I don’t often write about parenting here at Magpie Girl. When I started blogging, Mama Bloggers were all the rage. And although at the time my children were little, I didn’t want to be stuck in the mama blogger niche. Maybe part of me knew that one day they wouldn’t want to be blogged about anymore. That one day, sooner than I expected, my nine-year old would turn to me and say, “Don’t put that on your blog mom!” Some part of me knew, even then, if I only blogged about mamahood the end would be nigh.
My children are 12 and 14 now, and I have to get permission before I can even post their picture on Facebook. Blogging about them? Fuhgeddaboutit. And yet lately, mamahood has been on my mind.
Take toddlers, for instance. Whenever I see someone with a toddler — at a grocery store, or here at my second office in the library, my heart goes out to them. I want to touch them on the arm and say, “It’s okay. It’s going to be oh. kay.” For instance, yesterday I at Target, I ran into this little interchange…
“No Jake, it goes in the other basket. In our basket,” she said, rescuing the holiday-train window clings from my shopping cart. “You almost took home something unexpected there,” she said with to me with a tired smile.
“He has a sweet voice,” I commented. “I miss that age. It’s my favorite.”
“He screamed for two years,” she volunteered. “Two. Years. Now that he’s like this,” she waved her arms at him charming another shopper, “I worry that I missed his babyhood wishing for it to pass.” She paused. “But then again, he did scream for two years.”
“I had one of those.” I confessed. “I know.”
My kids are 12 and 14 now. And I feel because I did not, ever, make good on my threat to give them to the gypsies, I am now entitled to offer mama advice to, say, random strangers in the holiday aisle at Target. So unsolicited, I told her a story.
I told her about how my first-born was hard. Harder than I’d ever imagined. Hard to grow. Hard to birth. Hard to take care of. And I worried, that whole time, that in my longing to have all that difficulty pass, I may have missed out on those first fleeting years of babyhood.
I worried afterwards too. I worried when she was 5, and when she was 6, and when she was 7. I felt sure I had missed something important. And I knew there was no going back to find it again.
But, I told this random lady, my daughters are 12 and 14. Smart. Responsible. Funny. In short, the best companions a mama could hope for. And now that I’m out of the early childhood brain-fog, I’m realizing how much I do remember.
How many good memories I have of when they were little.
How many charming antedotes I hold in my heart.
How many stories I can tell.
And it’s dawned on me, very recently, that I actually was present to their babyhood, to their toddlering. The ebb and the flow of it. The hot and the cold of it. I didn’t miss it. I was there.
“Thank you,” she said. “Thank you for telling me that.”
If you are parenting a young one today — one who screams, or won’t sleep, or who is in that stage where they will never EVER put on shoes — please knowhis;
You are okay.
Your kiddo is okay.
When the dust settles, you’ll remember the good in technicolor.
And by the time your kids are in high school, the bad will fade juuust enough to let you be compassionate to random strangers at Target.
Be kind to your baby soul, mama. You’re doing just fine.
*your magpie girl
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