If I would make a pros and cons list for parenting (and I would never actually do such a thing), I would be able to amply populate both columns. And it would be easy to focus on the negative things happening on a day-to-day basis like the tantrums, the bickering, or the whining, right?
But, in my life, the frustration is easy to forget in the delicious moments with children when they surprise or delight you.
And I am finding that when you spend most of your day with children, there is some balance between wretched and stupendous.
Earlier last week while I frantically checked my inboxes before heading out for the day, my little daughter walked up to me in undies and asked for help with her T-shirt. Clothed from the waist up, she left my office. Two minutes later, I popped my head in her doorway to see her sister helping her put on shorts. When I asked if they needed me, they replied, “No, we’re okay.” Minutes later, I heard a triumphant announcement that they were “ready to go.”
In the summer, there is an outdoor concert series in a park that also houses the country’s oldest rose garden. We go the concert with a group of friends and inevitably run into lots of people we know. The concert series kicked off last week, and I was reminded of the ways I can mark our children’s lives by these Wednesday nights with friends. We have pictures of our first concert when my oldest was 15 months, the summer later when my little was in a stroller, then toddling, and now everyone is running. It is incredible to see my children with their friends in their bare feet trampling through arches full of roses in bloom, always a few inches taller and certainly much bolder. But even more enchanting than traipsing around the garden after them (including a few frantic shouts to slow down), I was overcome watching my husband and daughters throw down at the front of the concert on the dance floor. They were dancing like no one was watching.
These little moments asserting their independence and carefree living remind me that the aggravating moments of parenting are frustrating but not intolerable. Without these little people, I probably would not choose to eat cupcakes for dinner or skip instead of walk. But I do. And in summer, it’s what I love to do.