All I have learned

I've been at this for over 8 years.
That's almost a decade of my life.
In any other relm, one would say that's a long time and you must be a master.
But when it comes to parenting, you're not seasoned until the day to day is over.
So I am still so so brand new at it all.
I haven't even started to come close to the teenage years.
I have an eight and a five year old.
A boy and a girl.
Two different babies turned into two different children who will turn into two different teens, who will turn into two different adults.
Different people.
With different needs.
Different wants.
Different triggers for them and me.

So, I know nothing.
I have zero answers.
But here is what I have learned from the two of you.

Neither of you responds well to anger.
One ignores it, the other doubles down.
One pretends they can't hear all of a sudden.
The other meets anger with rage.

My person and I need humor.
It's the only way to survive this.
We have to call each other out on our crazy.
We have to laugh at one another.
We have to make fun of our go-to traits.
I am the worried parent.
You are the grumpy parent.
I am the one that fiercely protects childhood.
You are the one to push them to be their best.
I become deranged at a mess and things out of place.
You become crazed when you feel unheard and disrespected.
When one of us drifts too far into our own lane, we need laughter to bring us back center.

Cole loves love.
And food.
Both make his feet dance and his heart full.

Anna loves praise and making others proud of her.
She lights up when you tell her you're proud or explain how much and why you love her.

I learned this a long time ago but friends are important, for them and for me.
I learned that I have always needed to be close with people and I have learned that in this season of my life, it is no different.
In fact, it is more intense.
I have learned that framily keeps me sane, grounded, laughing, feeling full.

Traditions are important.
To them, to me, to this family.
I have learned that they do not have to be grand, but they do need to be consistent.
Small reminders that bring us back home.
It is our center, our foundation.

I have learned that sleep is the most important thing in my life and I would leave all of you for more of it...
just kidding because if that were true I would have been gone already.
But I have a love affair with sleep every night and my bed is my everything.
The more I get to sleep because I don't have babies, the more exhausted I am because I have children.

I have learned that I have to teach you everything.
I swear I never realized this until I had you.
I didn't realize that people didn't know how to blow their noses, or wipe, or comb their hair.
I never realized how much there is to parenting.
How much learning happens that isn't tested, it's just to become a normal human.
Everything, I have to teach you everything over and over and over again until you master it.

I have learned how to call on those that know better than me.
Those that I respect and those that I know will bring me out of my terror.
I have learned that each phase is so different and each age is so challenging that I can't keep up.
I have learned that I just have to ask, you've been here, you've done this, what now?

I have learned to say yes! a lot.
I have learned the power of that word because for years I was the mom that said no.
I have learned that you need so much more room and I have learned that I am willing to protect your freedom and independence more than my fears.

I have learned that I loathe playing.
I hate your rules
I hate pretend
I hate the "you're not doing that right".
So, I have learned that I am the reading date parent.
I am the one that will color as long as you want and I have learned that board games and card games are my jam.

I have learned that no matter how big you get
how old you are
how much you are doing now
the sight of you in a bath towel still makes you my baby.
I have learned that bedtime is still special because you are still small.
You still fit and I have learned to linger in these moments of tiny.

I have learned that the witching hour is very real and I have learned to stop looking at parents with a melting kid because there is NOTHING that person can do.
They don't want it happening either.
I have learned that a tired child is like a bomb and once it goes off, destruction is all that can happen.

I have learned that no matter how sentimental I am about all of the things,
I cannot keep any of your stuff from school.
I have learned to hold you while you cry and see this happening.
I have learned that you will thank me one day when I don't hand over to you a garage full of scraps of paper you wanted me to keep when you were four.

I have learned I am still scared.
Of everything and everyone.
I have learned that I don't see the world differently now that you're in it,
I have always been on alert and terrified.
I have learned that I am not willing to put any of that on you so I have learned to walk you through fear.

I have learned that each phase you go through, I go through one too.
I have learned that we are learning together because neither of us has any of this figured out.

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