Friday, June 17, 2011

True parent moments

Last night, my deep slumber was interrupted with cries. Poor Molly has been fighting a bug for a while, and it was getting the best of her. So, at 1:56 this morning, while holding my feverish and puking little girl, a thought slowly (my brain doesn't exactly move at lightning speed in the middle of the night) dawned on me. Sitting on the bathroom floor, cradling Molly, it hit me: This was one of those times when I truly feel like a mother. It's not to say that I don't always feel like a mom, but there are just those moments when the feeling is crystallized and so clear. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Cory was not having this revelation, being too busy cleaning up the puke from the floor. Props have to go out to him for that. But cleaning up puke is exactly what I'm talking about. Only a parent would be cleaning up someone else's puke from the floor at 2 in the morning. (And, I'm going to say college doesn't count, because no one actually cleans up the puke until the next morning.)

Being a parent is about so much more than just creating and delivering a baby. It's about all the other stuff you do to bring these crazy kids up in this crazy world. So, in honor and celebration of a dear friend of mine who, just this week, was finally able, through adoption, to open her arms to a little boy and call him her own, I've compiled a list of the top times I've felt like a parent. Times that have had absolutely nothing to do with actually giving birth.

When I really felt like a parent ... (both gross and sweet!)

  • First off, let's go with having a sick child. Now, neither Molly nor Charlotte is a cuddler. I would cuddle them until the cows come home, but each girl would prefer to be off doing her own thing. It's only when they are sick, that they will snuggle up next to me and allow me to stroke their hair and hold them close. This is the good part of a sick child. The puking, snotty nose and whineyness are the bad parts. But, when you are the one who can give them at least one iota of relief from that sickness, it makes you feel you are a parent.
  • Last month we took the girls to Jiggle Jam, a kids' outdoor music festival. We sat on the ground in front of the stage in 90-degree heat with no breeze to listen to Choo Choo Soul from the Disney Channel. Seriously, who else would you do that for, except your kids? And, more to the point, who else would do that for your kids, except you? Only a parent would put up with all the other kids, the heat, the humidity, and the music (though to be fair, it isn't bad in kid music terms - "All aboard the choo choo train ... ") to see a grin on their kid's face. Only a parent.

  • We had a huge issue getting rid of Molly's pacifier almost a year ago. Unfortunately, she is still spoiled from that time. So spoiled that she "requires" having her back scratched every night and every nap. Nothing says being a parent like scratching your kid's back for hours (Ok, maybe that's a slight exaggeration. Sometimes not, though.) to get them to go to sleep. But, as a parent, you know how precious sleep is and will do anything to get it to come to your child. Have you heard about that new book out there about just this same topic?
  • You know that scene in Mary Poppins when the parents finally realize that they are using nannies to raise their kids and they are missing out on the best part of their lives - their kids? So, to make up for that, they put down their work and take their kids out to go fly a kite. It makes everything right in the world. Yeah, flying a kite with my girls made me feel like a parent.

  • How about serving a meal to your kids? "Can I have some milk?" "I need a napkin." "I dropped my spoon." "I want water, too." "I need ketchup." "Can I have some more veggies?" (Hahaha, gotcha, that last one doesn't ever happen in my house!) But, the rest do. And, by the time you finally get everything for everyone, you sit down, pick up your own fork, and hear, "Mommy, I'm done!" Yup, that's truly parent time.
  • Here's a gross-out parenting moment for you. A couple weeks ago, I went in to get Charlotte up from her nap only to discover her diaper had not been able to contain the poop. As the parent (and the only adult in the house), I had to clean the poop off all the sheets, blankets, pillow, stuffed animals, pacifiers, and Charlotte. The fact that I managed to do this with only minimal gagging was a marker of true success. And, parenthood.
  • Molly has at last reached the age where she is old enough to start reading chapter books. I love reading books with a plot and characters (however juvenile they may be). Nothing against Biscuit or the Touch and Feel Puppies, but it's nice to get a little more variety with the words. And, I feel like I am getting to pass along my love of reading to my daughter. I know other people can read to kids, but this is something I've been looking forward to forever, so when the time came when I could sit down and actually read a "big girl book," I really felt like a parent.

PS. We're reading Ramona right now.

  • And, last, but certainly not least. Though the time of this has long since passed in my household, I will never, ever forget the awesomeness of feeling your baby's breathing while they are sleeping on your chest. And, my favorite: being able to nap with them! Ahhh, pure heaven. Pure parent moment.

My sleeping angel, Charlotte.

So, in celebration of Sarah and Will, and all the other parents out there who may not have birthed their babies, you truly are parents in every sense of the word. Welcome to the club. The fun is just beginning!

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