Finally, I am starting to enjoy my children again. It has been a rough go since my daughter turned six months old, which is when she began to desire regular interaction and attention. I could not figure out how to balance meeting even the basic needs of my two marvelous offspring.
Most days I felt like I would never have it “together” again and that fulfilling the needs of two children was a human impossibility. The long lost dreams of enjoying, and having fun with my children disappeared months ago. Instead, I accepted that rare moments of pure delight shared by us three were flukes.
I was disappointed by this understanding. Each of my children is so much fun, and is so interesting. It just seemed as though I could never get through meeting their basic needs to enjoy things as lofty as conversation and comedy.
In the last few weeks though, I got a glimpse of what my next six months will look like.
We had an unheard of temperature of 60 degrees in New England recently. The kids and I went for a walk along a path here in town that had been cleared of the massive amounts of snow we received this winter. While we were walking, I realized that the last time we had been on this path Sydney had not yet been able to walk. I wore her in a sling and put her down in select places.
On this exceptionally warm winter day though (and wearing her brother’s hand me down rain boots) Sydney strutted right along next to him. She chatted with Owen and I about what she was seeing and what excited her, and she showed Owen the items that most intrigued her.
I was smiling, when suddenly I caught myself. I was relaxed, and completely enjoying this time with my children. I was not stressed that one was not getting what they needed, or trying to comfort one who was crying while answering the others questions. Instead, I was filled with happiness and a sense of gratitude.
I was grateful for the realization that we are able to enjoy each other. As it did with Owen, care for Sydney is becoming easier. Not only is she more physically capable, she clearly basks in, and receives pure joy from time with her family. Observing the three of us on this day I knew that the changes from baby to toddler would allow us more fun time together and less diaper changing and napping.
During those months that were so challenging for me I could not foresee reaching this point. I expected the intense challenges that come from having two young children to continue. But on this warm march day, I caught a glimpse of reality- that this tight knit trio has lots of delight ahead of us.
This rare and unexpected day was not uplifting simply because of the weather. In fact, that was irrelevant to me as I was falling asleep that night. This day was full of hope because it graciously showed me the picture that I was praying was still there: me, thoroughly enjoying my two children, beautiful day or not.
This piece was originally posted on this blog, formerly named Pondering Jane, on March 3, 2011.