Tag Archives: growing up

I Love Them. That Is All.

birthday candles in a small cakeAs I write this essay, my birthday has come to a close. My husband is playing a few minutes on a hand held videogame. My children are fast asleep. The cat is doing things that cats do late at night. The day was nothing extraordinary, which made it wonderful. It was probably the best day ever, because it was so simple and in that simplicity, so very perfect.

Tonight, I held my daughter’s hand as she drifted off to sleep. I could almost feel how quickly her childhood is passing by. She’s five years old already. I remember when she was born as though it were last week. My own mother probably feels the same about the 40 “something” years I’ve be around. Sitting there, beside my daughter’s bed, I made myself commit that moment to memory and tuck it away to remember on the day she turns 18 and moves off to college.

Long ago, when I would look forward to my future, I didn’t necessarily see children as a part of it. Thankfully, the universe knew me far better than I knew myself. I have been blessed and honored to share my life with two such wonderful human beings that I lack the words to even begin to describe how much they mean to me. They are not perfect (who is?), but they are my babies.

So, I come here to gush, but not about anything in particular. I gush just that they are. I love my son and I love my daughter; differently, equally. I am so very happy that the universe is so very wise.

Best. Birthday. Ever.

by Rocket Science Mom

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Photo graciously provided by ThaRainbow., through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved

4 Weeks

old fashioned alarm clocks with feathered wingsI knew this day would come, eventually. In 4 weeks my twin daughters start Kindergarten. They are ready, especially Copy Cat, but I don’t know if I am. They are both ready to be challenged and their desire to learn has really gained momentum over the past 6-9 months. Copy Cat is always asking questions and trying to absorb it all.

I am looking forward to a little more flexibility with my day time schedule and the opportunity for some “me” time (ha ha). I start teaching my first online college class in August. It will be nice to keep busy, yet not have to travel anywhere at a particular time. I will continue to teach one night per week at the other college I work for as I really enjoy the live classroom too. Hopefully I’ll be busy enough that I won’t be able to dwell on the fact that my daughters are in school five days per week.

Every Wednesday my girls have early release so they get out of school at 12:30 p.m. I am probably one of the only parents who loves this schedule! While I signed my daughters up for a dance class at 1:30 I am excited we have one-half day every week to spend a little more time together. My goal is to continue to deepen our relationship so that we will remain close even as they grow up and out of the house.

The other day I saw pictures posted on Facebook by two of my friends; their daughters are teenagers. I couldn’t believe it, teenagers already! It made me pause and realize how quickly life moves. It was another reminder to just enjoy today. Take lots of pictures, even some videos, so that you can live in the moment but have great memories of the past. I’m taking my own advice over the next 4 weeks and then we’ll see where we go from here…

by Kelly Damron

Photo graciously provided by JavierVazquez, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved

Old Friends

silhouette of 2 people on park benchSomeone I was great friends with in high school but hadn’t seen for over 25 years recently moved a few miles away from me.  We’ve gotten a chance to reconnect and resume a friendship that was rooted in a small high school (there were 40 kids in my graduating class) and it’s been a really great experience.

While we lost touch after we went to college, having someone who knew me back when I was the age my kids are now has been fun.  It’s made me remember what it was like to be 15 again, all the good and the bad.  It’s great to see what parts of people remain true to their core, and which parts mature and mellow with age.  But it also affirms that the relationships our kids have with people now are important relationships that will come back to them when they get older.

For me, it’s made me take a breath and look at my kid’s friends.  Which ones will I still have hanging out at my house in ten years?  Which ones will I go to their weddings?  Which ones will be lifelong friends and which ones are people that just pass through our lives?

Those moments from middle school and high school where we found out who are true friends were, and those who were not, those moments that make us cringe and tear up even today- my kids are experiencing these moments right now.  I hope I can make some of it easier for them, and I hope they get through it with less scar tissue and more happy memories than most.

I feel really lucky to have great friends who’ve known me for most of my life still be part of my life today.  It’s  comforting to know that you can outgrow your immaturity, but still keep friendships and relationships alive, even after years of absence.  That’s the blessing of good friends, and I hope my kids are as lucky as I feel right now.

by Whitney Hoffman

Photo graciously provided by A. Strakey, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved

Growing Up

feet in tall green grassThe joy of having kids is that they teach you about growing up as a process.

When we were going through it ourselves, we have no perspective on what’s next.  Being a grown up seems like a dream to kids, with all the money, power and respect of a super hero.   From an adult’s perspective, being a child seems like a carefree time where everything was pretty much managed for you.  It can look pretty sweet from the side of the fence filled with bills, laundry, kids, jobs and more.

As I watch my kids grow and mature, I learn more about myself.  I appreciate the absolute joy that can come from the simplest of things again.  I learn that sometimes, getting into hot water can seem like the end of the world, and you never know what the consequences will be.  I learn that having someone to try to guide your path is great, but there are some mistakes you have to make on your own.  I learn that responsibility can be a benefit and a burden, all at once.  Sometimes we’re not ready for its heavy weight.

I’ve learned that quite often, we can bite off more than we can chew.  Our egos often write checks our bodies and abilities just can’t cash yet.  Time will heal a lot of wounds, and experience helps you make better decisions the next time, if you take a moment to reflect.

Mistakes are inevitable, and learning requires trying a lot of different things and failing before success takes hold.  Circumstances change, and not all answers are easy and simple.  But stretching and taking on something you aren’t entirely confident or certain you can do is the best way to gain more confidence and test your abilities.  Playing it safe isn’t always the smartest strategy, but learning how to predict outcomes and when to take that risky leap are things only experience will show us.

I still feel like I’m growing up and learning every day.

Being able to place myself in my kid’s shoes and trying to remember what it was like when you thought no one understood, and no one could help you out of what’s become an embarrassing mess was awful, but it helps me now face problems head on and deal with them before the become unmanageable and overwhelming.

It’s also fantastic to learn to let yourself just live in the moment.  Experience joy.  Laugh.  Do something incredibly silly, even with your teens who think you are being totally immature.  Play games.  Skip.  Forget for a short time that everything is so serious and has to have a grand purpose.  Show off.  Tell jokes.  Giggle.  Wear a tiara.  Put on a Cape.

As adults, we can forget how important hope and dreams can be.  When your whole life seems to be ahead of you, those dreams are what keeps us moving forward, and keep us going even when it seems like people who are 20 or 30 or older are as old as the Earth itself.  The tough part comes when you are 30 or 40 or older, and the new dream, the new hope, the new goal seems hard or impossible or that the opportunity has simply passed you by, and we give up on what we want and start settling for what’s easy and convenient instead.

Being a parent helps me remember how special life is and how lucky I am.  When I watch my boys come into their own, I feel unbounded joy that I made these terrific people with stuff we had laying around the house.  No matter how many times I’ve screwed up and been insensitive or harsh or demanding or simply self-absorbed, the big picture is that kids and people are resilient.  The good does outweigh the bad.    They learn most of the good stuff, and while they may repeat some of your mistakes, most of the ones they’ll make are their own, and will teach them what they most need to know first hand.  You can’t protect them, even with giant rolls of bubble wrap, but you can give them enough skills, practice and confidence to try and often succeed, and surprise you with how well they can fly on their own, without your help.

My kids may be growing up, but what they are also teaching me is how to be a good Grown Up in the process.

by Whitney Hoffman

Photo graciously provided by aussiegall, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved

Growing Independence

two white orchids with blurry backgroundWhile I knew it was inevitable I am often surprised, in a good way, and sometimes saddened by how independent my children are getting. As I started writing they walked into the dining room and pulled open the blinds to view the Christmas lights in our front yard. They are making a game of it by playing I Spy.

There are many things I love about my children getting older. Their ability to use the bathroom on their own is a huge plus. And I’m so ready for them to take showers or baths without any assistance from us. Tonight they sang a song they are learning in school. It was so amazingly cute when they started performing the motions that went with the song. The holiday party is Dec. 16th and they’ll be putting on a mini-concert for the parents and I’m so excited to watch their performance.

I do miss some of the things that are all baby. Such as holding them in my arms while they slept – it was like a little piece of heaven. The coos and silly faces that only babies make. The huge milestones like walking and talking that show you just amazing we all truly are.

There will be other milestones, some as wonderful as those they experienced as babies and toddlers. Sometimes, though, I’m just not ready for them to grow up so quickly.

by Kelly Damron

Photo graciously provided by mysza 831, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved