I wonder if this happens to every parent…you pause midstream and look up and think, “Oh, this. This is why I wanted to be a parent.” I can’t really explain it and I will sound like a scary mommy when I admit that some phases of parenting for me were just plain ick. Babies and toddlers were not my game. Sure, I loved a good rock in the chair, story time, and inhaling the precious new baby smell but after that…it really did feel like living in the trenches. Toddlers make you question your sanity every single day yet I know some moms who loved that stuff and still go weak when they encounter a newborn and become wistful whenever they pass the toddler section of Target. Mostly I think, “I am glad it is not me.” These are hard thoughts to admit to and definitely not popular because who can disses a baby? But it is true for me.
In the chauffeur phase, I find I am hitting my stride. I have glimpses of who my kids will be, and I feel like I am at my own Gladwellian Tipping Point…a moment in my parenting life that will shape and shift and somehow direct their futures. I am not naive enough to believe I have a ton of power, but I certainly have influence and so I am running with it.
The closer it seems that I could fly out of the home a bit more, the more I want to stay around. I like being the chauffeur, I like making a plan to bake a cake with my son after school and knowing he likes it as much as me. I like knowing my daughter’s friends and forcing myself upon their parents. I like knowing it’s me running my girl to see doctors and counselors and dance and checking her lunches and taking her mental temperature. I find these little moments of a chat here and there between park play and bike rides and activities pack a powerful punch for all of us. Dinner conversations are livelier and more thoughtful and sincere. While I am not dining with adults yet, I am enjoying some time with curious and free thinking individuals.
This phase is important because it is one my kids will remember. If the impressions I make are meaningful enough to them, my kids will want to fly as well as return now and again.
I like my kids. I don’t know if every parent can say this about the little people they are raising. Personalities are quirky and different and not everyone mixes and fits well together. Liking them doesn’t mean I think they are perfect or without fault. It just means at this time, I find my kids funny and sweet and infuriating and typical and easy to be around and so special I can’t stand it.
It has taken me ten years to get to this day, and I am soaking it up.