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I am always proud of my kids. Every day from the second they joined our home, their tiny hearts beating in sync with mine. I love them beyond measure, like many Moms the world over, and yet, sometimes parenting is dull. It is magical – ephemeral – a little unbelievable – and then it is exhausting. Draining. Bone weary hard work. The older they get, the further and faster they speed away from you. Daily. You can see it when they wake up and walk down to make their own cereal. And it is good and welcome and even a positive force most days and then, comes a day when they start slamming doors. Routinely. Loudly. Jarringly. Startlingly, door slamming replaces punctuation at the end of every sentence. “Ugh” Door slam. “I did already” Door slam. “You never understand anything” Door slam.
And maybe the next day, or a week later they give you that look. You know, the same look you gave your very own Mom when you were 14 or 15. The one that said, “Back away, you are no longer everything in my life and you are annoying the Hell, yes I said it, the Hell, out of me right now.” Sometimes the look says: “I will never ever ever be like you or do what you are doing right now.” Maybe even: “You disgust me as a parent.”
But you take it. It rolls off your back sometimes like water off the back of a duck. Then the look comes again on a day when you are ill, aching with flu, clammy, dead exhausted and driving them to acting lessons or singing lessons or martial arts and you think: “What the hell? Where am I and why am I doing this again?”
These moments come often lately at Casa de Schuck Family. Tweens are glorious in their moodiness and their passion, messiness and inactivity. They leave their clothes all over the house and a trail of destruction and mess in their wake. It is enough to make you want to run from the house screaming: “Calgon take me away.”
It is so outrageous and impossible that my oldest girl is 11 and my youngest now eight, and that I no longer have babies here. In fact, I cannot wrap my head around it at all. But the longer they grow their little limbs out into the world the more I also grow in response in different ways. I write more now than I ever did when they were babes. I kind of love that, even as I miss that beautiful baby smell. And I am learning when to joke and when to hold my tongue, because it may be embarrassing to my glorious girls. I cultivate more friendships that are grownups and I even occasionally drink wine again.
Entire weeks pass when we are living together, loving each other and yet growing separately. And it is okay, in fact better than okay, it is healthy and good and the natural order of the parent-child relationship.
And then out of the blue comes a week where you see this magnificent creature you are raising and think. How did I get this lucky? How is it possible my heart beats strong and is walking around right there in front of me and outside my body.
You whisper to her: “It’s okay we got here early today go find your friends and hang out. I don’t want to make you look uncool or embarrass you.”
And your heart speaks and she tells you: “I don’t care about any of that, Mom. I would rather stand here with you and have another hug.”
Heart full to bursting you stand there and breathe. Yes, this is who she will be. And this is who I will be. And we are each more than enough for each other.