After having the chance to spend lots of time with 7 other parents this weekend, all of whom I really like and enjoy, I have been pondering the parenting phrases that must feel unique and shocking to each new generation of parents, but have actually been said over and over for hundreds of years.
1) “(S)He is just getting so big (tall, old, brave, mobile, independent…)” We parents are just constantly amazed at these evolving humans we created. Even as homeschoolers, who, on average, spend a heck of a lot more hours in the day with their children, we are still stunned by the changes in these children. And it is really a joy to notice these changes. Mary, another camping parent, and I were talking about how sometimes a photograph gives an insight into the future child within your child. Especially of The Buster, we’ve got several snaps that tell me exactly what the 16 y.o. Buster is going to look like. What a cutie, and what an imp!
2) “Just when you think you have these kids figured out, they change.” Yessa didn’t walk until she was 16 months old. Neither did her father, so it wasn’t a concern to us since he obviously turned out mostly normal, and fully mobile, but it was still a stunner when she decided to start walking one day.
Not so dramatic, but just as fascinating are the changes in attitude and ability which happen: The Buster tried a piece of grapefruit on Friday. Not a big deal for many children, but that is huge for him. And it was a great reminder to me to keep offering food choices and not just to pigeon-hole him as a selective eater. And suddenly one day, Monkey could buckle and unbuckle her own seat belt! It made a slight, but noticeable difference in the amount of time it takes for us to get in and out of the Funny Van.
3) “Time goes so quickly.” I KNOW parents have been saying this since forever, yet it still seems so timeless. That our eldest child is nearly 7 1/2 years old. That Yessa just turned 3. That my dad has been gone for 3 years?! And even the number of times I have had parents tell me while looking at our young children, “My kids are in college/married/pregnant with their first baby, and it seems just like yesterday that they were that age.”
I’m putting together books for the children for the time on the plane trip to Costa Rica, and I came across pictures of when we first moved to Virginia.
Followed by pictures of all three children taken in the last few weeks:
Time truly does fly.
4) “My child isn’t perfect, but I’m so thankful my child doesn’t/isn’t/won’t…”
I believe the things that come into my life are the things I need. They aren’t always pleasant, nor fun, nor even something I want, but I choose to feel there is a lesson in whatever comes my way. So it is with our children. These are exactly the children I need. (Luckily I find our children fun, and I wanted them, and they are generally very pleasant.) And just as I am so thankful for these children, I am so thankful that they are who they are. They fit our life so perfectly. They are so obviously our children. (How my mother put up with me as a child, I’ll never know, because talking to Zoe is exactly like talking to myself.)
5) Which brings me to my last example of parenting “pick up lines.” “(S)He is just like…me, my husband, my dad, my brother…”
It’s completely obvious. Thanks to the combination of genetics and lifestyle, of course our children are generally going to be “just like” someone we live with or are related to, yet, we keep saying this as if it is some inspired insight.
And yet, though it is trite, I take great comfort in feeling like Zoe is a lot like me as a child. She loves the story of me telling my mom to “stay in the car,” when Mom took me for my first day of preschool. And she loves it because she is coming into her own as an independent, yet still very dependent child. She loves feeling in control, and she likes knowing she can choose to be shy and have me go with her out into the big world.
And all the children have Buddie’s love of rough and tumble, wrestle and scrum. Well, of course they do. He’s been tossing and twirling them since they were old enough to have head and neck control. It’s so completely ingrained that it’s become part of their biology.
“Dad, let’s go upstairs and wrestle,” is generally the first request he gets when he walks in the door. Starving he might be, but he always has time to toss them around.
I’m sure there are many more phrases that make parents feel connected. Already I’m thinking of some along the lines of, “I’m just doing my best.” “I understand my parents so much better now.” “Wow, kids are expensive…”
And my favoritest of all time: “I sure love my kids. They’ve helped me become a better person.”