Parenting is a funny job. When your kids are young (especially if you are young too), you spend a lot of time worrying about all the things that could possibly go wrong. You wake up in the middle of the night to make sure you can see your baby’s little back or chest rising and falling because you can’t hear them breathing. When they are in school, you worry that they will be bullied or that a teacher will be mean to them for no reason. When they are in high school, especially now, you worry every day that one of their classmates will come in guns blazing. But in exchange for all the things you stress out about, you get to see your baby start crawling or take her first steps. You get to read a note from the kindergarten teacher that your child helped someone who was getting picked on. You get to go to a high school basketball game and watch your kid who, less than a year ago, was a timid ball player, get all up in someones face and block a shot. You get to see your adult children thriving in life and making good choices, living in a way that makes you proud. And I try to think of any other single accomplishment that might be better than seeing your children succeed and I’m not sure there is one.
If I won a Pulitzer, it would probably pale in comparison to seeing my kids’ diplomas. I just don’t think there is anything more amazing that creating amazing people. So every now and then, I get really sappy. I will not apologize.
It’s a rare occasion when I talk to all three of my kids on the same day. The older two have their lives and, unlike my mother who calls me 2500 times a day, I try to be hands off now that my two oldest kids do, in fact, have their own lives. I try to let them call me most of the time because I don’t want to interrupt their lives and I don’t want them hitting the ignore button because I call them too much. So instead, I stay on the other end of the spectrum and sometimes they probably think I don’t love them enough because I rarely call. Today, I talked to all three of my kids. And it just made me very thankful for what I have.
Lately, I’ve been having this internal struggle (see tomorrow’s blog), but when I have even just a few minutes to catch up with my kids and find out what’s going on in their lives even if it means hearing about dead chickens and moves across the country, I’m so happy that God gave me these three. I’m not religious by any stretch of the imagination, but I do know that someone had to be looking out for me because I basically got handed the silver platter of children.
And it’s so funny because it doesn’t seem like it was very long ago that I was just a 25 year old kid trying to figure out how the heck I was going to raise another child. Three kids? I couldn’t imagine. And now, he will be 18 in 9 months. It’s like a backwards countdown. I counted down three times to bringing a new little life into the world and now I count down to literally a new life without kids.
I know that parenting never ends and I’m ridiculously thankful for that. But sometimes in the bittersweet moments between midnight and 7 am when I think about all the nights I thought I wouldn’t get through tomorrow, I’m full of wonder about what the next 26 years will look like when I’m not “Anna’s mom,” or “Bradley’s mom,” or “Mel’s mom” and I’m just Angie.