Parenting… The proof is in the pudding.
Well, maybe not in the pudding, but it is there, somewhere…
Every year on Thanksgiving I write about the many things I am thankful for (2011, 2010, 2009), and I will do that here to, but I want to do it a bit differently this year, because, well, everything is different this year. Earlier this week, 2 of my cousins (second cousins, yes, we are all genealogically geniuses and know things like that) were visiting. Em adores them, and frankly, I do too, so it was fabulous! Insert gratitude here – I am beyond thankful that we live so close to so many family members – D’s parents, his brother’s family, aunts and uncles and these cousins, especially now that J has moved from Hong Kong to the states! I love the kids growing up close to the extended family like this. But I digress…
The cousins and I were talking about my upcoming 40th birthday. I am actually really good with turning 40. They are both over that hill and told me that it was the best thing ever! But here is the thing. Cousin A and I are SO alike that we might as well be twins. She said, out loud, exactly, nearly word for word, what I have been thinking about my 40th birthday. Look at my life!!! I have an amazing husband, 3 fabulous kids, a fabulous support system (vital with twins), a home I love, a job I love (with people I love working with), a doctoral degree, tenure, free college for 3 kids, oh and I have a book out, published by a top academic publishing house. Fear 40? Wow, tons of people fear 30 and look what I accomplished in my 30s! n bring on the 40s, I can’t wait to accomplish even more!
And those accomplishments seem to have started. For me, it is the little things.
Like last Friday night while I was cooking dinner and Emily ran up to me, “Mommy, it is dark out, we forgot to do candles!”. I was stunned. STUNNED! We have lit shabbas candles maybe a dozen times in Emily’s life and yet she remembered that we light them after sundown. We sang the prayer together (well, I sang, she sang some sounds but kept up with the melody) and boogied down. I will never forget my 3 year old shaking her hips and swaying to the prayer for shabbas candles. Parenting success!
Emily loves to sing and we have loaded the car’s hard drive with her music. I can’t tell you anything about current music. When she is in the car, we are rocking out to Tinkerbell’s soundtrack, or the hokey pokey, or listening to Pinkalicious on cd. Recently I needed a change and I shook things up big time with a new cd. Emily is now a HUGE fan of Free to be you and me. HUGE parenting success! I mean this cd represents so much of my childhood and youth. We did this show in high school (I still remember my part and my outfit and props from that show). I LOVE Free to be and now Emily does to. She walks around the hose singing it. The opening song is one of her favorites but lately Brother’s and Sister’s, Sisters and Brother’s, ain’t we every one…. (sorry, it is a good song) is her favorite, because, well, she has a sister and a brother. I love driving along rocking out to pure 70s music. So much fun!
So this year I am thankful for SO much! My funny, happy, HEALTHY, 3 year old who is a singer, dancer, comedienne, chef, organizer, doctor, lawyer, mommy, negotiator, and cuddler. I am grateful for every one of our conversations. Monday morning on the way to day care, as we passed the fallen trees waiting to be cut or mulched or whatever they were panning to do with them, Emily said, Mommy, that was a very bad storm, let’s talk about that. And she was able to tell D with amazing accuracy everything that happened when “a bad man almost hit our car! And mommy said WOAH and did not let him and he needs a time out”. She sees everything. She hears everything. She KNOWS everything. And I love it. And really, Emily hugs are the best hugs on earth.
I am thankful for the babies. The truth is, we wanted to have one more baby. Obviously that was not the case. And when things get really hard, and things do get really hard, I will sigh and think about how much easier it would be with just one baby (and Emily). But when they play, when they smile, when they laugh (they have tickly bellies!!), when they grab my hand and cuddle in for a hug, to nurse, or just to be held, I am grateful there are 2 of them. I am thankful that Emily adores them so much and for her patience as we navigate demanding babies with her needs. My biggest fear is that she is/will be short changed in the attention department, but so far, so good (at least I hope so!). I am thankful also for the medical team that brought the babies into the world (one without my knowledge at all really), and then treated them and me and brought us to this day. I am thankful for the NICU team every day! Without them, would I have my babies? I know that without Dr. Delpret and her team, we would not have Sidney. and if we did, she would be a very different child. But let’s not go there…
I am thankful for my husband. My amazing, funny, caring, supportive, understanding, calm husband. For his patience as I figure out how to be a mom to 3 babies, and for his patience in the future when I try to be a mom to all 3 and go back to work! For the times he tells me to sit while he does the dishes, or a diaper, or a story. For the times we laugh together about random things, like the fact that I bought celery. Or when I asked him how we have no clean knives when I just did 2 loads of laundry? (yeah, true story, I confused the washer and the dish washer – in conversation not in practice!) For his kisses and hugs every morning before work and every night. But even better is watching his with his children. When Emily screams and runs to him when he gets home from work. When he pretends she is tickling him. When he talks to and plays with the babies. Just for him in general. The best husband and father ever.
Just looking at these babies – all three of them, and while I will always second guess myself, it just seems like we are doing something right. There is no “Parenting Guide”, no list of rules, not even a suggestion book. D and I have been winging it from the start. But somehow, we created some pretty cool kids and for that, I am the most thankful!
edit – and really, I am especially thankful that when we had to buy a washer and dryer (since the sellers took theirs), we got large capacity machines!