GAYS MILLS - Spoiler alert: Parenting is a long-term timeline of things you didn't expect to be hard and occasionally sucky, being hard and occasionally sucky. But, it turns out my dear readers, it really can be rewarding, funny, and occasionally not so sucky at all.
Since I had Thatcher, I always knew I wanted to be a cool mom, who took her kids everywhere and gave them all sorts of enriching experiences. I just assumed that they would transition seamlessly into whatever we wanted to do. And when they’re little, it isn't so hard. But as Thatcher grows, so does his never-ending quest of curiosity and experiencing the world, entirely on his own terms. Coupled with a baby whose agendas are short lived and require lots of napping–our lives have taken a turn for the interesting, crazy and stressful.
I am, admittedly at times, very challenged by having such a strong-willed, extremely curious and intelligent toddler and a squirmy, chirpy, dying to be self-propelled, almost nine month old. This is most often felt during those beautiful, enriching Kodak moments that we all live to scroll through on Facebook and Instagram. The fun times that you spend so much time working up to and planning for.
Alas, I am so slow to catch on to the fact that babies and toddlers will always and forever have their own agenda. They do not care how much you paid to get into a place, how much planning went into curating this very moment for them, and, although you don't want to admit it, for yourself. Or basically being concerned with anything beyond what they want or need in that immediate moment. Their wants and needs are typically simple and make sense to them, but can be hard to sort out when trying to convince them they’re not realistic, safe, or possible and this very moment. The older, more verbal, and smarter that Thatcher gets, the harder time I have remembering that he is still a small, sweet little three year old with emotions and reasoning he doesn't have the capacity to control.
I feel like I get sucked into this expectation of how I want things to be, rather than riding along with the joy of what they are. I know how quickly the pages of time turn and one day, poof, they’ll be grown up and not want me to carry them up a giant hill, wrapped in a blanket while they cry about a bag of crushed tortilla chips. I’m laughing just thinking about how nostalgic I’ll feel for it one day. Despite the eye-rolling frustration it caused me at the time.
I am grateful however that toddlers don't seem to remember the hard parts of the good times like parents do. When reflecting on our last weekend spent at Larryfest, I found myself thinking about how frustrated I was carrying 22 pounds of baby Bopper up and down a hill after Thatcher all the while missing all the music I came to see.
I thought about being cranky, hot, and tired. But when I asked Thatcher what he thought of it, he began listing off things in his happy, sing-songy voice. “I saw my couuuusins, I played with the huge bubbles, I left Frog Bog and Cockroach Bockroach in a beaver hole (translation: the tiniest plastic frog you’ve ever seen and a tiny toy cockroach he left, somewhere.) I saw Mawkee and Janey, I ate corn cobbin’ I never wanted to leave Larrwee Fest Mama Tomma! I love it! I love you sweet tuutie! Yep I sho do!”
Listening to him, I could feel some of my own tension release. I had been feeling kind of guilty for just getting caught up in the stress and frustration of maintaining two little kids, communication with my partner kindly, and keeping myself fed, watered and sane when all the while all I really wanted to do was sit in a lawn chair and listen to music undisturbed. But here is this little person who didn't register any of that. He didn’t realize I had a hard time, because he was having the best time.
And despite what I saw as my shortfalls in not living up to the mom-blog-modern-day-mom perfection in any situation, Thatcher and Waylon came out exactly how I wanted them too. Happy, loved, enriched, albeit a little crusty, dirty, and ever so slightly sunburnt (whoops!) and full of more wonderful memories and experiences than they have even fully processed yet.I too am not much the worst for wear. A little rough around the edges, dehydrated and thoughtful. But also a little more determined to spend less time getting wrapped up in how things should be or are supposed to turn out and a little more time leaning back and channeling the essence of the Kurt Vonnegut quote: “And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point ‘if this isn’t nice, I don't know what is.’”