Oh, I know there's lots of work and messes and naughtiness and constant demands and sickness and discipline and training and interruptions and no time for yourself and then turning around and doing it all over again! But give me a row of little, innocent, trainable people over the tall, maturing, I-have-my-own-opinion people who, let's face it, have to make their own choices and there's really not a whole lot I can do about it when it comes down to it!
I've considered just going on having babies forever so as to always have some of those sweet little people running around (fleeting, pie-in-the-sky consideration!), but it doesn't take much looking around to realize that, at some point, every family has had to leave those days behind. Somewhere along the way, every family has had to go from a row of preschoolers, to a row of teenagers; a row of teenagers, to a row of youth.....
This is where all those wise, helpful people come in who showed up the day your firstborn arrived. The ones who nodded their heads gravely and said those sad, sad words -"They grow up too fast!" "They won't stay little long!" and even better - "They'll be going to school before you know it!!" I never really had much love for those people. I mean, seriously people! I WANT them to grow up! I'm not really into hopping out of bed multiple times a night forever. Not really in the mood to be summoned to the bathroom by little voices yelling "Dooonnne!" for the rest of my life. And I wouldn't mind eating my food in peace at a normal pace again rather then grabbing quick bites between feeding another mouth and cutting up two other people's meat. Really? Why sit around and cry about them going off to school 'before you know it'?? Oh, I'll know it all right!
I think I know the real reason why the thought of going from a house of preschoolers to one of teenagers and so forth makes me panic suddenly and wonder if the "going on having babies" idea is a valid consideration. It's not totally because I realize suddenly that my days of training are pretty much over for this child and what I've done better have been enough. It's not just the seriousness of knowing that I can't make my child's decisions for him anymore, he will have to make his choices. You know what it is? It's the realization that I AM GETTING OLD.
Don't laugh at me! Somebody told me recently "I rather envy you your big, happy family!" and it kinda threw me for a loop. My big (BIG) happy family? BIG?? What does that make me? Not a young, youthful mother that's for sure! And then my daughter wants to learn to cook and sew and ...well... everything, and I know that's good. She should learn, and I should teach her. But suddenly I'm all, "Wait a minute! I LIKE to sew. I don't WANT you to make the pizza crust! What am I gonna be good for anymore anyway?!" I AM GETTING OLD.
Ok, laugh. I know it sounds silly. It IS silly, actually! And I know I'm not old, and I don't even have a teenager in the house yet. But I am getting old - we all are! What does that realization do to you? Do you mind? Are you ok with that idea? I want to be. I don't want to be the mother of the ((ahem)) biiiig family who works herself to death because SHE has to be the one to do it all or it isn't done right. The one who can't see that she's really a bit ridiculous to not sit back and let her growing children take over some things even if she LIKES to do them.
I want to accept the changing stages of life with grace. Usually I think of that statement in the context of grandparents who's children have left the nest. In reality, there's many many stages of life before one gets to that point! I imagine the sooner one figures out the 'with grace' thing, the better! So, instead of being like those wise, helpful people and sighing over how "The children will be taking over and I'll be getting old before I know it!!" I think I'll prop my feet up and just enjoy the fact that I don't have to do everything anymore! :)