Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The life cycle of parenting

Toddler--Child cries hysterically any time you step out of sight.

Teenager--Child finds the time to call you from college approximately once a month.

Toddler--(In reference to toys) Child screams, "MINE! MINE! MINE!"

Teenager--(In reference to friends, academics, their very life) Child screams, "MINE! "MINE! MINE!" (Also to be understood as "NOT YOURS, STAY OUT OF IT!")

Toddler--You fall in love with your child, not comprehending why every person who passes by doesn't stop in their tracks at the amazing cuteness of your precious one.

Teenager--You still love your child, but realize that a reminder from other adults of their assets can be helpful, who tell you what a courteous, polite, and respectful young person they are.

Toddler--You are like "home base" for your child. On the playground, they go off and play, then come back just to connect with you every once in a while to know they're still safe. If they get hurt, you rush to their side to console them. Indeed you might be the only person who CAN console them.

Teenager--In theory, you're still home base. But your presence, while important, is way in the background, and you are required to wait until asked to provide succor. They've got other supports in their life now.

Toddler--You spend half your life trying to get them to sleep, praying for them to take a nap, go to bed easily, sleep through the night, and awaken later than the crack of dawn. You're constantly sleep deprived from trying to get them to sleep.

Teenager--You've had half your night's sleep before they come in for the night, you've put in half a day's work before they get out of bed, and the crack of dawn arrives for them at approximately noon. You're often sleep deprived from trying not to wonder and worry.

Toddler--No matter the tantrum they just threw, they can melt you five minutes later with a look, a hug, an "I love you."

Teenager--No matter the adolescent challenges, they can still melt you, AND THEY KNOW IT.

Toddler--Your heart hurts each time they skin their knee, feel slighted by a friend, or beg you not to leave them for work, school, or any other obligations.

Teenager--Your heart doesn't just hurt. It breaks over and over again as you watch them learn to navigate this crazy world.

The heartbreaking loss of their childhood remains.

But it shares equal space with the heart-filling amazement of who they are becoming.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I found your blog in a search for a picture book called MINE! MINE! MINE! But I had to stop in and say, nice post!