Sunday, September 11, 2011

And then they grow up

 I still remember the labor of both my kids.

Hal took his own sweet time, starting to warn me around 6 p.m. the night before but not finally emerging until my doctor with her Popeye post-spinach arms yanked him out with a suction cup on his head until almost noon the next morning (sadly I would have to look up the exact time, as well as height and weight).

Anna on the other hand didn't give us much warning at all. We pratically had to throw Hal out of the car at our sitter's house on the way to the hospital so I would not deliver in the car.  I think it was all of several hours before a deceptively demure baby arrived, sleeping most of the first couple days before the crying began. Maybe she needed to bake a little more but the colic was probably why there are only two wonderful children now and not three.

Their different labors were probably a sign of how different they would be. Hal is bookish, analytical and has always been more comfortable with adults than peers his own age. On the flip side, Anna's social calendar really deserves a personal manager and she is always up on the latest fashion and pop culture trends. I still have no idea what careers they will pursue but no doubt they will each excel in their respective fields.

Watching them grow up has been a blessing, but lately it's going way to fast. I was at a friend's BBQ the other day and while most the folks were my age or a little younger (I think) their children were all 5 and under. I'll admit part of me admired how cute the little ones were, asking parents to fix their plate or wipe their tears after a spill in the bouncy house (yes I guess you CAN rent these things now. So much for my cool air mattress in a tent idea from Anna's 5th birthday). Still, there was a part that was at peace knowing tomorrow I could get up, go to work and not have to fix a lunch, pick out an outfit, cut up bananas or make a bottle.

Soon Hal will start driver's education. Anna just started middle school. I'm not sure where the time went but I am realizing that my time is running out to have them at home and under my wings. This summer we took the kids on a splendid trip abroad for which I am so grateful. We could not have done this when they were little, but it is a tradition we started at ages 9 and 12 and hope we can do a few more before Hal goes off to college. That 24/7 time is truly a gift, with few distractions of cell phones, texting, email or activities.

I know we don't have much longer but I hope that someday my adult children will call on their own to say, "Hi Mom...guess what happened today?" I am trying to do more of that actually with my own parents as they get older.

Parenting is hard work. Really hard. But I would not exchange it for anything...tears, trials, puberty and all!