I’ll be doing things around the house and hear “ah………Ah!…AH!” gradually increasing in both frequency and urgency, until I figure out the baby has marooned herself again. It’s gotten so common I actually send Payne in there to “Howp Gee-vive down”.
My children have personalities that are fairly near opposite, and I love that from a sort of anthropological perspective.
One prime example is how they wake up.
When Payne was a young toddler, he always woke up happy. Gleeful even. He would yell cheerfully for us as soon as he was conscious, and grin when we came in the door. As soon as he verified that we were there to retrieve him, he would happily turn around to hang his blankie on the back of the crib and reach out, chattering.
Genevieve wakes up crying. When I go into her room she squints quickly at the light I turn on, then stares down at the mattress. I ask her if she’s ready to get up, and she huffs a resigned little sigh. She then looks around for her blanket or Creepy Tiger Doll, and joylessly grabs it before leaning slightly towards me while rubbing her eyes, all “Alright, let’s do this. I’ve got to see a guy about a Cozy Coupe at 9.”
I love them.
Oh, and I’d say G is a walker now. It’s been a longer process for her, with the delightful side effect of almost no goose eggs, bloody noses, or split lips (unlike the results of her brother’s literal “head on” speed walking self tutorial). She is pretty confident now and is even moving from the adorably stiff legged Frankenbaby stage, to a real gait. I even caught her trying to run yesterday, so I can probably put off rejoining the gym for, what do you think, the next calendar year?
(Does showy grabbing back of foot stretch, pins number to own back)
Bring it, girlie.
Several weeks ago, in the aftermath of a typically frustrating trip to the zoo (where Payne didn’t listen and Genevieve threw all of her food on the ground. The five second rule is null and void at the zoo, in my opinion.) my sweaty self angrily tossed the stroller into the trunk while some scavenging SUV waited for my spot and I plopped into the front seat. I’d removed the kid’s shoes, hoping that not having to remove them once we got home would help me carry them into the house without waking them.
I sighed, turned on the car while mentally readying myself for the possibility of no afternoon nap, and glanced down at the shoes on my passenger floorboard.
Now, I’m not what one would call sentimental, and I often have a hard time with this parenting gig. I’ve never been someone that just looooves hanging out with kids or babies. I didn’t like to hold babies ever until I had my own, and even now I’m not big on other kids. I don’t want to talk to children on the playground and you’ll never find me volunteering at the church nursery. There are moments every day where I think to myself “Yep. I’d rather be on a beach chair in Cabo right now” as I wipe a runny nose or argue with Payne for the ten thousandth time that week.
Those little shoes stopped me on a dime. I looked at them and thought about how many people on this earth would do nearly anything to have to carry around two pairs of shoes made for tiny feet. I take my role in life for granted often, but in reality, I’ve been given a great gift.
Today, the national anniversary of a great trajedy, seems a good day to express a little gratitude.
My family is the greatest blessing in my life. My children the most spectacular gifts I’ve ever been given. They are my most precious posessions. Consequently, I have learned the true value of human life through their existence.
Having Payne deepened my understanding of our value. To this day I have problems watching violent movies, thinking about the casualties of war, the victims of terrorism, because my heart breaks thinking about the mothers and fathers of those taken. Every single person on this planet is somebody’s baby. Someone grew them within their body, met their every need when they were so helpless that a day without constant care would be fatal, kissed their scraped knees, provided their necessities, gave their child their heart. Everyone out there is cared about deeply by someone, and thus, the loss of any human life is an incalculable horror. Within an individual, there is so much there. So much time and work and love and importance. How can it just be tossed out of the window by a bullet, or a bomb, or by hatred? The idea of losing one of my children triggers more fear within me than the idea of dying. I would die to protect them, reflexively.
In discovering myself as a parent, I also came to understand a darker side of myself. I remember once, I was driving through town with Payne in the backseat and was pregnant with Genevieve, when a car not far in front of me just stopped in the right hand lane. Not the shoulder of the freeway, within the lane. Myself and several other vehicles skidded and swerved to a stop, brakes squealing, and by some miracle avoided an accident. Now, I have no idea why that car stopped. Maybe the driver had a seizure, a heart attack, maybe his car malfunctioned….but in the seconds after realizing we were ok I had some very violent thoughts about that man. If my son or baby had been injured in a wreck of his doing I’m not sure what would have happened in the time that lapsed before emergency aid showed up. I mean, I’m not exactly an intimidating physical specimen, but I hear adrenaline does some crazy stuff. That incident made me realize that I would not only die to protect my children, I would without hesitation attempt to kill someone that directly threatened their lives. That is a profound and eerie thing to realize about oneself.
I suppose where I’m going with this is trying to say I’m grateful. I’m grateful for my husband and the children he has given me. I feel empathy towards those who have loved ones that were lost because someone had an agenda and decided to make a statement, disregarding the value of human life in the process. My understanding of their grief will always be incredibly shallow by comparison, but this year, as a Mother to two humans that are so very dear to me, I feel their collective loss more intensly. I can only imagine their grief, and I know that their anger is also great. We all grieve, and we are all angry, but their burden is magnitudes greater.
Our lives are valuable beyond measure.
Parenting is difficult at times, but children are The Greatest Blessing.
I don’t think I can really express what it is I’m feeling today, but thank you for reading my aimless mental rambling.
As a consolation prize, here is a photo of Genevieve reallllly loving her Creepy Tiger Suit Cabbage Patch Doll: