Monday, April 12, 2021

This Person Now

While perusing Facebook during my nightly scroll I saw that a friend posted about how much her daughter had changed. She didn’t say it in a “Time Flies” kind of way but rather in a way I had never thought about before. She explained that while she loved the person her daughter is becoming she also is mourning the stages and personalities that simply no longer exist. For over a year I have been with my children practically every single hour of every single day. You would think the changes would be hard for me to see, but the opposite is true. Before my eyes, I have watched my daughter change. Her mood, her body and her ability to express herself. She is still a kid, but she is not a little girl anymore. At twelve and a half we invite her to learn about the very things we shielded her from since she was born. The topics that we hadn’t gotten to yet are brought up by her friends. Gender, justice, equality, belief systems, spirituality, are all topics we or she discuss these days. I love who she is becoming, but I miss who she has left behind. My son has stretched and lengthened in what seemed to be overnight. Suddenly his shirts rode a bit too high and his shorts a bit too short. He now has the exact same gait as my husband and all his little boy extra padding has disappeared. He is still a little kid in so many ways and I am not in a hurry to rush him to grow up. My two children’s age difference shows up now when my daughter has hours of homework from her middle school classes and my son keeps asking when she can play with him. It shows up when she tells him she is too old to take baths with him anymore. It shows up when he gets jealous of the few freedoms she has because she is older. They argue, there is attitude, there are tears and sometimes there is no way to reason with either of them. There are also moments though when they are bonded to each other. When I hear them giggling together I feel the warmth of the sun fall over me, even if I am inside. I remember the first time my then toddler was a strong enough walker to go down the street with his sister and me. I stood in the middle of each of them and had one of their hands in each of mine. It was a wave of pride washing over me. I felt so complete because my hands were full with what I had waited so long for. Although my days now are filled with a lot of cooking, driving, and being a tutor, change is coming. My children won’t be children for as long as I thought they would. It is going so much faster than I imagined it would have. My soon to be nine year old boy spends hours at the skatepark skateboarding with his friends. It has been the unexpected side effect of all of this time not in school. My husband and I trade off with who sits at the park to keep an eye on him. He gets his school work done and then asks us to check which skateboard friends will be able to meet him at the park. There are days when my frustration level is elevated. My boy can get sassy when he can’t find something, if his hair curls a certain way, or even if I just look at him the wrong way. He gets so upset and angry. If I try to talk to him when he is that mad he either shuts down or gets really defensive. My reaction is to get upset back, but that rarely results in anything positive. The other night I wanted to give him a kiss before he went to bed, but he was too upset because I told him that he and his sister couldn’t wake up at five the next morning. They wanted to get up, dressed, eat breakfast and go exercise all before their morning zooms. I normally wouldn’t want to stop them from doing something this productive, but it was already later than his regular bedtime and the amount of sleep this idea would leave him with would have been less than what is recommended for an adult, so I said no. In response he turned away from me and faced his wall. I’m not going to lie, my feelings were hurt. Lately, I have been doing a lot of thinking about my family and the circuitous path it took for us to become one. I didn’t have an easy time getting pregnant and when I finally did I had an extremely difficult time. I wanted more than one child but after being so sick through my first pregnancy and after a miscarriage in the twelfth week of my second, it felt like such an uphill battle. I wasn’t sure I was strong enough to get through another hard pregnancy or another loss, but my desire to have another baby was strong enough that I was willing to try one more time. My husband and I agreed that no matter what the outcome was it would be our last try. I got pregnant, got sick again, got IV’s and one day after throwing up I started to bleed. I sunk down on the floor of the bathroom and screamed. My husband was away for work and my mother who was visiting came running up the stairs. I cried as I explained what happened. If I was losing that baby too, then we were done putting ourselves through so much pain, sickness and loss, but it also meant that my daughter wouldn’t get a sibling. I waited through what felt like the longest weekend until I could see my OB to have an ultrasound. When we heard a loud strong heartbeat I was so relieved. We went on to have a healthy baby boy who grew up and went to bed angry with me the other night. The reason why I was so upset not getting my usual snuggles was because I was because I felt compelled to tell him how much I loved that he was my boy. I wanted to explain to him that we tried a long time for him. I wanted to hold him and tell him how much we prayed for him, but he was too pissed to hear it that night. Which worked out okay because it put all my preciousness into check. He is eight, living with a pandemic, and really just needed a bit of alone time. The next morning he apologized for being a little stinker. He is very good at saying sorry and he gave me a hug and a kiss. I didn’t try to tell him how happy I was that he was in my life, but I hugged him back realizing that he already knows.