Freedom from Full-Tilt Parenting

We were in our late 20s the first time we parented these ages– younger, more idealistic, maybe just a bit more capable of doing it all and looking somewhat pulled together in the process. Now we’re in our early 40s, and some days …

Some days, I won’t lie, I think of my fellow 40-something moms and their freedom to knit the afternoon away without untangling the sticky fingers of a baby from their skein, and I find myself wondering which one of us sleeps better at night.

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Marking time

One thing about time in a new place– it just flows over you, no real rhyme or rhythm, no familiar milestones to mark its passing. Without the falling leaves, without the crisp nights, without the wind storms, the Halloween decorations being torn down and the Thanksgiving signs being put up … we have stood still for nearly seven weeks.

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That night

That afternoon when you realize that the cranky toddler isn’t just being a pill … he’s got a fever.

That evening where you have to turn over tortilla frying duties to the (very capable) 14 year-old so that you can give in to the pleas of, “Ni-ni! Ni-ni!” and the tug at your sleeve to carry that sweaty little boy upstairs and put him in bed.

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Broken babies

John Mark was still healing the first time I felt his round little head burrow into my shoulder. Places babies should never feel anything but the caress of a mother’s lips were bruised, aching, and still knitting themselves back to some semblance of the perfect they had been at the moment of his birth. My heart for that child was so total, so intense, instantaneously. I could– still can, actually– bring myself to nauseous tears imagining the horror of his first few weeks. Someone hurt my baby. If I think on it too long …

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