Monday, August 18, 2008

how difficult yet fun parenting is...or was....

When our first child entered our lives, I immediately realized how difficult yet how fun parenting is. From day one, my role as parent was to help our children transition effectively from one phase to the next. It started with feedings and spreading those feedings over a larger span of time until they were sleeping through the night. Then it became fewer feedings until they could get to 3 meals a day. It was difficult, full of frustration and sleepless nights, but it was fun. As they got older, the phases became more about functioning in life – stopping tantrum-throwing, walking, potty training, eating table food, using the correct words to express thoughts, etc. Once again, it was hard, but it was fun and often funny. When the preschool years came, the phases became less definitive and more about me and my own issues – babysitters, preschool, watching them fall and get hurt as they learned to ride a bike/scooter/etc., dressing themselves, adding responsibility to their lives, etc. It has been hard and full of battles, but honestly, fun.

Parenting is difficult because while everything in me wants to freeze them, hold them, and protect them, my MAIN responsibility in life with respect to the children is gradually forcing them to become independent of me despite myself. Nothing can prepare a parent for how difficult and how counter-intuitive this can be, yet oddly how fun it can be. However, even more difficult than forcing the children to grow up is watching the children become very good at growing up and just eager enough for it to sting. I should take their enthusiasm as a sign of a job well done, and I shouldn’t want them to react any differently, but I secretly do. I secretly want them to need me as much I want to be needed.

Today my oldest went to 1st grade for the first day. He will be leaving me for a full day 5 days a week for the first time ever.

Today, my baby went to Kindergarten. He will be leaving me for a ½ day 5 days a week for the first time ever.

And I am beginning to see that many of the “fun” times of forcing my kids to grow up are 1) no longer forced and 2) no longer fun for me.



  1. I hear you. I'm starting to get nervous for my little guy who's going to a new school this year. He may not fully realize the change but I sure do.

    Good luck to your boys in kindergarten and 1st grade. Exciting but so emotional.

  2. I know exactly what you mean. Luke starts K tomorrow and Jack starts 2nd. We are calling today the last hurrah. And, we bought Luke a size 13 show yesterday and Jack a size 3. How did they get so big?

  3. What a sweet picture of the two of you. They both look so grown up.

    I approach everything as if it's an exciting new adventure for them and I aren't I happy for them to have exciting new adventures? It's been working for me for 23 years.

    Also, if they don't grow up I would never have grandkids and I can't wait for that!

    Have I ever mentioned I am the world's longest term planner?!

  4. My heart sinks for you and for me - because I know I will be there in two weeks. I think jenn has a good outlook though. I will have to think of it more like happy adventures. =)

  5. Yep. My ten year old gets home from camp in TWO days. He's been gone for ten. I know he'a had fun. Me? I've been a mess. Sigh. This is oh so no fun.

  6. I know just what you mean! I love the photos too.

  7. Angie: From a teacher's perspective (albeit high school), I can tell you that your child will eventually realize, too, that there is the bigger plan put into motion on the first day of school. It may not be your plan nor his plan, but the plan is in motion, and now there are many others involved in the script. I would often look at a class of students and realize that we were not randomly grouped by a computer program--that I was not an intergal part of the lives of my students. May Gavin and Grant have teachers who care about them as the people they are becoming.

    "retired" teacher

  8. BIG HUGS!!! I so know how you feel. It's so hard watching them grow up and knowing things are forever changing.

  9. Your kids are beautiful.

  10. I know exactly what you mean. My boys start grade 1 in two weeks. I cried yesterday thinking about it. For the first time in almost 6 years for 5 days a week I will be without them. What the heck am I going to do with my time? It is on the other hand a really exciting time for them...just hard for me. sniff sniff

  11. What a big day for you adn your boys!!! Do you mean you have a few hours a day to yourelf? What ever are you going to do with them?

    It is hard to watch them grow -- and get all independent. Maybe we should teach them so much :)

  12. I feel you.
    I once heard a wise mom say that her main objective was to work herself out of a job. The job of motherhood.
    It hurts, don't it.

    Much love.
    I'm right there with ya.

  13. oh, you remind me of the first day of preschool for my middle kid, I saw two obvious new-to-preschool-parents. the symptoms, 1) both Mom and Dad had to drop off the 2 year old. 2) Mom was crying. 3) Dad kept asking the teacher questions and "informing" her all about the 2 year old 4) Mom and Dad were still standing at the window after I'd dropped off both boys in their respective classes on opposite ends of the school and peeked in the 1 way window at #2 son. 5) they didn't laugh when I said that "duck and run was the best drop off policy"....6) Mom was still crying 7) Dad was starting to hiccup.

    milestones aren't easy for any of us parents...but we deal with them differently. (I'm still all for ducking and running in the opposite direction quoting "free at last" at the top of my lungs....)

    They're getting "So Big!" :-)

  14. Angie, this year especially difficult for me as well. The baby went to kindergarten, and my oldest baby went to middle school! And let me tell you, each new year gets a little harder. I sit back and think about how time is flying, and we have so much left to teach. These changes definitely push me into the Bible more!!!

    Hang on and Pray!!

  15. Angie,

    I just said goodbye to Nick. Talk about life changing! It will be odd not wake him up in the morning; wait for him for dinner, make sure he gets home at night, etc..., but to see how exicted he was to begin his new life makes it all worth it. That is what we're supposed to do as parents, make them ready for their next stage of life. You have done a great job with Gavin and Grant, and be happy they are ready to start their next stage of life, no matter how sad it makes you.

    Aunt Deb

  16. Oh, how I remember those days. It hurts even now to think about how scary it was. But then they become teenagers and you CAN'T WAIT for school to start so you can get some friggin' peace! ;o) And even then you miss those bittersweet first years... Ahhh, the perennial paradoxes of parenthood. No wonder we get senile in our old age! ;o)

  17. My freaking pms is killing me on your blog today..I am sitting here in tears again.. you are an amazing writer my friend..