Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Tea Party

So, my whirlwind child has turned 3.  During her newborn days of sleeplessness and relentless crying, I doubted this day would ever come.  Through my fog of exhaustion, I couldn't see how we would ever make it to the point where she slept through the night, much less simply asked for what she wanted.  This child has been a joy, no doubt.  But she has been tough.  She was never flexible enough to just go along with what the family needed to do.  Nope, not her.  She demanded that we bend to accommodate her.  Which we did in order to preserve my sanity. 
So, yes, I am glad she's three.  Sure, I miss her slobbery kisses, her warm fuzzy head, the occasional morning cuddle, and the way she drew our family together with her antics.  Sometimes.  But would I go back and do it all over again just to experience those things one more time?  Nope.  Pictures and memories suffice for me.
I should probably use this post to write about how much I love this girl.  I'll get there, but first I had to take a minute to bask in the gratitude that she has outgrown the whole phase where she cries like the world is ending.  A hundred times, day and night.
Honest.  I am honest.  I have adored my babies.  I've had fun with them.  They've made me laugh more times than I could count.  But I am ok with the fact that we are finished with that period in our lives.  I am content to move beyond nursing and diapers and baby carriers and high chairs and strollers and baby spoons and chokables. 
I defy anyone who says that they 'loved every minute' with their kids.  It simply isn't possible.  But before you assume that I don't love any of the time with my kids, just remember that I am honest.  Possibly more honest than I should be.
I try to gather the good moments, and find joy in them.  I endure the horrible moments, and try to find some humor in them afterwards.  It may not be a formula for wining mother-of-the-year, but it works for me.  Because when I take all those good moments, and those horrible ones, and even all the ones that fall somewhere in between, it adds up to something amazing.  It adds up to motherhood.  Which I chose wholeheartedly, even if I didn't know what I was getting into.  And I am grateful for the journey. 
My baby girl has turned into a little person, full of curiosity and outrage, eagerness and affection.  She watches everyone around her to help her understand the world and how she should react to it.  She's sharp as a tack and demanding as all get out.  There is no standing on the sidelines for this girl.  She insists on being right in the thick of it.  All the time.  She is my constant shadow, my little sidekick.  Unless any of her siblings are around, in which case she'll ditch me in a heartbeat and only come back when she's hungry.  They are so much more fun.  Simple truth.
When I pull her into my arms and call her my baby, she corrects me.  She is not a baby, she's a kid.  And she's right.  She isn't a baby.  She's my baby.  I am happy to let her outgrow her true baby days, but I will never let her outgrow the simple fact that she is my baby.  I sometimes try to explain to her that K is my baby, too.  But she just gives me a look that plainly says, "That makes no sense, Mommy."  And then I let it slide. 
Someday, she will understand.
Until then, I'll mark the passing of her years with cake, frosting, color and joy.

Though I can think of many, many more, here are three things that I love about this girl.
1) Her frequent and spontaneous hugs.  They are simply the best.
2) Her quick mind and the way it grasps the smallest details around her.
3) Her boundless imagination.  Because it makes life so very interesting.
Happy birthday, baby girl.  And even though you ask on a weekly basis if it's your birthday yet, you will have to wait until next year.  And no, we can't get in the van and drive to your birthday and then come back.  Although that is quite an imaginative solution to your dilemma.  Some things you just have to wait for.  Until next year . . .

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