Being a MOM is one of the greatest privileges on earth. It's work, it's body fluids soiling inconvenient and inappropriate places. It's car seats, strollers, high chairs, constant vigilance. It's also beautiful moments when that baby reaches for YOU, and no one else will do. Feeling a bit nostalgic this morning after having spent a wonderful Christmas week with DataBoy, YogaGirl, and my newest niece, Sunshine.
I also had a surreal afternoon where I felt like a grandma. I went with YogaGirl to visit a long-time friend of hers and her new baby. ( You might recall that I met YG when I was her 7th grade math teacher. It's pretty cool to have her as a sister now, gotta say.) So there I am, with two of my former students, and we're all sitting on the floor playing with their babies. These “girls” I taught and coached and mentored are now moms. Good moms. It was a joy to watch, but wow, time flies. I felt like the grandma – a generation away from these happy women, just starting the journey I've been on for a while.
It's been a journey of many detours and unplanned rest-stops along the way, and of course there were times when I thought I just wouldn't make it. I remember when they were three and five though, quite distinctly. We were done with diapers. SWIM diapers (and their million dollar price tag) AND both boys could hop in the car and buckle their own car seats. I thought to myself, “OK, I think I can actually handle this.” It was a good feeling.
Having spent eight years teaching teenagers, I looked forward to when they'd be independent to a greater extent, and to be quite honest, not need so much “hands-on” care. I couldn't have been more wrong. They need me now more than ever, and it's remarkable that they WANT me around. They ask for advice. They ask questions – the kind that many parents dread hearing. But I answer. I have one who wants every possible detail, and one who will say. “STOP! I don't want to know anymore!” There are teachable moments. There are frustrating moments. And now, we've added a new element. The truly terrifying, “We could die a fiery death!” moments.
Jake got his driver's permit. Talk about feeling old! It's so strange to sit in the passenger seat while YOUR SON, whom you used to buckle into a car seat, operates the vehicle. He's actually a very good driver, and wisely, The Engineer took him around the first month, “Honey, you just can't handle it yet, I know how you are.” We finally got the go-ahead for me to supervise, and we drove to Blockbuster. But we forgot the other stop - tortillas.
This is when I realized the best part of having a teen driver. You see, I'd already gotten into my pajamas as soon as we got home, and we were settling in for family movie night. I lamented the need to change to do that last errand. But there's no need! Teen drives to tortillaria, teen gets out of car, Mom stays inconspicuous in the car in her PJ's. Life is Good.
P.S I don't remember where I heard this quote, but it was probably in Mom's Group.
“The days will be long, but the years are short.”
Amen to that.