A beautiful late June morning. Blue sky, cool breeze, I see a small bird on top of a tall tree, it just flew down, probably catching a bug. The chimes blow softly, I hear a chain saw off in the distance. My dog lays patiently on the floor waiting to be fed breakfast. My children are at preschool, my husband at work. In one hour, everything will change. Jack and Fiona will be home from school, the quiet will turn to laughing, playing, crying. A house of activity. Two paper plate turkeys still hang on the wall from last fall, Jacks is missing a gobbley eye. A few paintings they made last year hang next to the Turkeys, I can’t believe how long they’ve lasted with just scotch tape. Paintings that were created with little hands in a tiny moment in time. A moment behind us, never to come back. A moment of little babies making marks and eating paint. A moment so precious that we can never get back. The paintings now made by these young beings are becoming more conscious. They are not purely a chance to make a mess and explore the surprise of paint spilling and covering their little bodies, splattering and tasting. Sometimes now they even ask me to wipe their hands clean during a painting project. There’s still the occasional body painting.
I am a parent of children now, no longer babies; kids now who still need my full attention and love. When Fiona sat on my lap at the audiologist the other day, asking the doctor big girl questions about her hearing aid molds that were being made I was taken aback. She no longer sat there and just let the doctor squirt the mold making goo in her ears, Fiona wanted to know why and how. Her legs folded long over mine, her head right in front of mine. She wasn’t a baby I cradled in my arms trying to distract, nor a toddler I had to comfort, she was a big girl, still only three and a half years old, but aware of what was going on. I got a freight, I’m their parent, I thought. I have two kids. Having babies is one thing but kids? Strong, independent, smart, loving, kids. They are developing their own tastes and interests now. I balance between letting them explore and learn and grow and teaching them how not to behave without squashing their individuality or shaming them for doing things inappropriate in our society. It’s a difficult balance for me, I sometimes wonder if I would be considered a permissive parent. I hope I’m strict enough, I don’t want spoiled brats or entitled kids. It’s difficult to find the balance. At least I know they are loving and kind kids.