Do you ever feel that as a parent, time can be totally static and yet time can race so fast you wonder where it all went?
And so it was the other week, watching our now three-year-old daughter in her very first musical performance. Her preschool put on the show, “Barnyard Moosical”. Our Ladybug dressed as a cow and managed to sing along and do the “milkshake” shimmy on a stage with dozens of other kids, in front of dozens of parents.
My husband and I realized this was the first time we’d had the opportunity, and thus the experience, of being proud of her for remembering lines and dance cues and performing for a crowd. No longer a new baby, she’s growing into a person in her own rite – one who enjoys Japanese food at Yirasai on Maple Avenue, and one who makes her opinions and preferences known, sometimes nicely and sometimes via tantrums. Good grief, the tantrums.
When I step back and get philosophical about it all, it’s amazing that as parents, we each go into this endeavor of nurturing a child to become an adult – teaching that kid about the ways of the world, how to navigate thoughts and feelings, and to retain useful information. I think about how some species are born knowing how to walk, yet it takes ours a year to take a step. We are each reinventing the wheel, yet we each have to grow through it on our own terms.
Now I’m watching my six-week-old son grow, though this time I’m bolstered by the experiences from parenting my daughter. My guess is that he’s a bit calmer than my daughter – an “old soul”, as some have commented: “It’s like he’s always just been here”. Perspective is a valuable commodity. I can see how I’ve grown as a parent, yet the hardest thing for me still to do sometimes is to change quick enough or be flexible enough in my parenting approach to meet my children where they are at.
My midwife told me repeatedly that your first child shows you the depth of your love, your subsequent children show you the breadth of that love. I now can agree.