Bittersweet Birthday Cake

From the second they place your newly born baby into your arms your life has changed. Not only because of the sleepless nights and endless diapers, but also because there is a person that you instinctively love more than yourself. I have received so much joy experiencing life through their perspective. Getting another chance to feel excited over the first snow fall or the last the day of school. Raising my children has allowed me to reminisce on my own childhood, to feel the magic I once believed in.

childhood

Today my youngest child turned five. As I write it, I still cannot believe it to be true. It feels like the closing of a chapter that is bittersweet. No more toddlers running through the house with bad pronunciations and a desire to stay in the nude. No more little fingers pinching away at scattered cheerios, or toothless grins. No more wobbly feet desperate to walk and no more teeny, tiny hands grasping onto my pinky finger.

There are many things I will not miss from that era of babyhood through toddler-hood, but somehow those details fade to the background, slightly out of focus.

My youngest child is now five.

Now, here I am, navigating through parenting with their childhood fully bloomed, inflated with feelings of their self esteem, curiosity, stress, fear, ego, anger, just to name a few. As a mother, I feel as though somebody turned the parenthood dial up a few notches. There is more to it than just maintaining their life and teaching them not to bite people. I feel an innate urge to ensure they are each emotionally okay, despite the world of influences they face everyday when they step out over the threshold of our home.

“A mother is only as happy and her unhappiest child.”

An accurate¬†statement loaded with stress and heartache, which cannot be avoided. I know that in a few years, when they cross over to the next plateau of their life, I’ll probably look back and think how easy I had it. Tears and frustrations will fade and I will be in amazement of how fast time is passing and how bittersweet it is that they are minimally in my presence.

However, today I am working hard to make sure they have a childhood they can recall upon one day to fill them up with joy and reminisce the magic they were able to experience when they could rely on their mommy to fix their mishaps and make them feel loved unconditionally.

Happy 5th birthday to my last born child.

Childhood3

 

 

It’s been a hard day’s night, I should be sleeping like a log

The kids had a snow day on Friday and another one yesterday, making today a false Monday and putting an end to their four day weekend. Winter has officially hit Long Island.

The day began like any other weekday, some breakfast, packed lunches and snacks, strange outfits and running down the block while the bus patiently sits at the corner with its doors open, ready to swallow up reluctant children. The day is in full swing with lots to get done.

By the time the evening comes, I sit on the couch with a cup of coffee ready to relax, a reward to myself. Sometimes I make a mental list of all the little tasks that I was able to do and I feel accomplished. I sit there all “Carpe Diem” and “Zen-like” feeling proud of myself.¬†You did a good job. There will always be more to do, but you chipped away at the ol’ block today! You owned it today. ¬† It’s usually around this time it starts . . .

“Go to bed,” I say slightly above my typical speaking voice. I can hear pattering feet above me. I decide to make my trip to the bathroom a surprise inspection, popping my head into their rooms while they scramble like cockroaches to their beds and fumble under the covers.

It’s only a few minutes later, their little voices are carried throughout the house, usually giggling or arguing and lots of shushing one another.

“Get in bed,” I shout out, with hope that they will instantaneously feel tired and fall asleep.

Skipping over the dreadful details, the evening typically concludes with me explaining to myself, out loud, that I am not being unreasonable by asking them to go to bed. We did everything that had to get done, it was a packed day and now its time for sleep. Simple.

If the phone rings and I decide to have a conversation, not work related, not bill related, just a casual, shoot-the-shit phone call, I find myself every few minutes pulling the phone away to scream like I have a disease. I am forced against my will to frequently get off the couch to sort them all back into their correct rooms and beds.

Just a few of the things that fly out of my mouth almost every night.

  • I’m done!
  • I’ve punched out!
  • So much happened today. How are you not tired?
  • That’s it! You’re all going to bed a half hour earlier tomorrow.
  • Please just go to bed. Please.
  • Now you’re thirsty? Really?
  • GO PEE THEN!
  • It’s a school night and because I said so, that’s why.
  • The kitchen is closed!
  • NO! I have already tucked you in twice, now you’re on your own!
  • SLEEP!

Not sure what I am doing wrong here, but by the time they all settle down, I can’t even think straight. Any creativity to write or desire to read has been drained and I just sit there in shock.

children quote

Right.