The Business of Growing


I’m not picking up little toys as much as I use to.  There are always a few here and there- but nothing like before.  I don’t have to sign into Netflix accounts anymore for the kids- they know how.  Today I stayed in my warm bed while the kids ate breakfast and ran around sliding on our floors with socks.  Their giggling and laughter were what I always imagine having kids would be like.  I just sat there and enjoyed every second of it.

The truth is when I dreamt of having kids- I dreamt of older children.  Never was a baby something I desired.  Or a toddler. In all honesty, I never thought we would move to Fargo, ND either but hey- that’s life.  Sometimes I joke that I must have thought I would give birth to a five-year-old because I was so shocked when I realized what comes out when you’re done the pushing.  I’ll never forget to look at my first born in the hospital and wondering what the heck I’m supposed to do with that thing.  If I’m honest- I wondered that up until he was four.  I’m slightly convinced kids that are younger then four are aliens.  I have no evidence to support my theory but in this day and age evidence isn’t much of a requirement. So aliens- That’s what those young toddlers and babies are to me.  I know there are those people out there that love babies and never want their kids to grow up- but they’re crazy, and I’m sure to need some intervention and treatment of some sort. Because torture isn’t something normal healthy people wish would last longer. Just throwing that out there.

So this morning, I’m typing this and watching my kids unload the dishwasher and put the dirty dishes in it.  Happily.  I’m talking to Mom about their Christmas present ideas, and there’s not one toy. We’ve moved into the serious Lego and video game season of parenthood, and I couldn’t be more happy about it. I feel as though this summer, along side grief and loss, my children pulled us all out of the trenches of parenting little aliens and because of it life has been a bit brighter.  I’m enjoying most days where before it was survival of the fittest.  I’m finding that I have time on my hands- a lot of it.  I even got bored the other day.  Someone asked me a while ago if I was tired and I said, “no, not really. Not at all.”  I feel like I must be speaking another language.  Not tired?? Bored?  Time??  No toys??  Hello, life. Hello, beautiful life.

So if you’re like me and not really into the raising aliens thing but are still in the trenches- rest is coming. Sweet relief and help are on the horizon.

The older kids are where it is at.  

From four years old and up- you can have conversations with your little people and reason with them.  You can correct and teach and see that they listen because they trust you and they want to grow and learn. Leaving the house feels less like herding cats and a lot more like leaving the house in a timely fashion (unless you have a husband- then disregard that). And having an eight-year-old?? Holy heaven folks.  It’s pure love, snuggles, and maturity. It’s heaven I say.  My eight-year-old is mature and old enough to stay home alone, do school on his own, and hold down a “job” here at the house to earn money- but he’s still young enough to need Mom snuggles and cozy blankets.  It’s everything you ever thought it would be.  Unless you’re of the troubled souls that like that alien stuff.  I’ll provide links below for places to seek help.

The other day my husband came home from work, and we were all content, rested, and busy doing our own thing.  He sat down, a bit- tense and looked around.  I suppose he was ready for his second shift?  He must have sat there for a good ten minutes before he said, “so if you all don’t need my help I think I’ll go up into my office and watch my show.”  His voice trembled a bit.  I looked above my glasses and didn’t need need to say a thing- I just smiled, and up the stairs, he confusingly went.  So, Dads- this is for you too.  Second shift gets better.

Anyways. Moms. Dads.  Aunts.  Uncles. Friends.  If you’re in the trenches, hang in there. Hunker down, dodge the bullets, and survive!!!!! A new day is coming.  Peace.  A clearing of the clouds.  A bed with just you, and your love. Not the kid love, the spouse love.  You’ll awake and realize it’s still just you two.  You’ll smile, lay back down, stretch, and proudly sprawl and cover as much as the bed as you can and then you’ll EXHALE….and you’ll stay there as long as you can because YOU CAN.

Don’t despair.  I mean, you can totally freak the heck out because it’s crazy insane, but don’t despair.  The trenches are temporary and worth it all.  God knew what He was doing in making the trenches be the start.  Roll with it.  Survive.  And when that day comes- enjoy every second of sprawling out on your bed while the kids bring you coffee and do the dishes.  You earned it.

This- it’s real and can happen. Promise.