the physical years

I used to say that raising babies (0-3) was a very physical process, they crawl, run, hide, need to be carried, dressed, fed, etc. As a parent you are phsically exhausted. I was pleased when about age 5 they could suddenly do everything for themselves. I actually had time to drink a hot cup of coffee, exercise for me, read a book…the bliss was not to last. When they reach about 7 (sometimes sooner) the world of extracurricular activities opens up and you’re back to the exhaustion. Between baseball, soccer, ballet, communion classes, birthday parties, you name it – most nights are choc full of things that have nothing to do with me. I drive and take pictures and cheer that’s my role. Don’t get me wrong it’s fun – but once again no hot coffee, very little reading, haven’t jogged in months…you know the pattern.

So in the midst of a particularly long, tiring evening of things that didn’t involve me I realized that the day would come when they would be able to take the car keys and go themselves and I would want desperately to be with them and know where they are and what they were doing. I would happily give up my coffee, books, you name it to be sure of thier safety and just spend time with them. Needless to say, I’ve felt much better about my chauffer duties after that. It’s a pleasure to see them grow and do things they love. I know these years will go by much too quickly.

Ok, so now the funny thing. My daughter’s birthday is in a few weeks. We have a ritual that before every birthday and Christmas we have to fill up a bag with old toys, books, etc. that we don’t want anymore to donate. That way we make room for the new and do a good deed at the same time. My daughter has a very difficult time parting with even a broken toy necklace. Tonight is the night of her purge and she’s in her room crying, but very lyrically saying “what am i going to do? what am i going to do! i love EVERYTHING!!” in between huge sobs. You have to know what a drama queen she is to truely appreciate it probably – but it’s so funny. She’ll find things to donate, she always does – but she does get attached!

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