Mommy Bloggers. We chronicle our joys, triumphs and challenges with humor and honesty, and above all - convey how much we love our little ones, our desire to bond with them. Inhale them. All the time. Forever and ever amen. At least that's how it seems to me.
Those sentiments are easy enough when our kids are tots -- or as a friend puts it, "squishable." It's a whole other milieu when they're tweens -- independent enough to pack a sack lunch, yet dependent enough to need and crave mom and dad's attention. Especially, and of course, the need and craving is on their demand.
It's a precarious balancing act; and if I was being honest, I'd tell you that I struggle with clicking my brain between GeeGee's preoccupation with her artistic renderings of dragons all sizes, shapes, factual and fictitious, getting the latest techno-gadgetry and the questions about her body, mortality, and just being a square peg who can still get along with her peers. And this is all within an hour of her waking.
The past few weeks have been wrapped up in all those challenges and questions along with sassy-ness, rolling-eyes, exasperated sighs and general-boundary testing that I never would've dreamed of doing when I was her age. So guess what? I haven't been feeling like the model Mommy Blogger. Unless the model Mommy Blogger is a person who knows that snapping her kid in line is a part of the mother job, but she detests it anyway. Unless the model Mommy Blogger is a person who feels like she's the Bad Cop with no sense of humor while her husband's the Fun, Approachable One. Unless the Mommy Blogger is the person who sometimes feels llike a Square Peg in this whole motherhood adventure.
But the truth is, both Jamie and I felt like all of us were entering new, uncharted territory. And it's not that GeeGee was out of control, but things were just...different.
We knew she needed -- and that we needed to do -- something beyond the bottles, diaper changes and rocking that it took to make everything okay in what seemed to be only a couple of days ago. But in fact, those couple of days ago were really nearly ten years of history, so we did one of the bravest things I think parents can do: we talked...and listened. Mostly listened. We asked questions whose honest answers could potentially crumble our fragile egos. Questions like: What do you need from mom and dad? Are there things mom and dad are doing that don't make you happy? What are they?
Her answers and our responses are irrelevant for the purposes of this post; but what is relevant is that we realize this parenting journey is bigger and longer than the developmental milestones, the debate between cloth or disposable diapers, or store-bought versus homemade baby food, because the other, also real part of parenting starts after we surmount those initial building blocks.
And that part of also-real-parenting includes being open enough to learn, listen and grow right along with our kids.