As The Children Grow....
Fellow Cape Cod Mommies, I know we’ve just met and all, but if we’re going to be friends than I need to be truthful with you – I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed right now. Maybe even a little over-emotional (though my husband might just call that a normal day). You might say, “No, no, you’re fine! Look at you, totally pulled together!” Well that just proves we’ve never actually met. Fact of the matter is, I’ve spent the entire past week trying not to cry at the drop of a hat. Hormones? Probably. Holidaystress? Sure. The truth? My eldest child is turning five.
I know, I know, it’s a wonderful thing to have a five year old. Birthdays are to be celebrated, children are to
be celebrated. Yes, yes, I agree. But there’s something about that big number “Five” that makes things get real, really fast. My baby girl is becoming a big kid.
She surprises me daily with her thoughtfulness and the range of her emotions. Her honesty thrills me and the weight of her feelings knocks me over. I see her meeting challenges, and pushing herself on to new goals. I also see her dealing with her failures and goals unmet. And let me tell you something, mamas, she’s doing a lot better job dealing with her difficulties than I am.
I see the hard knocks that come as friendships change, when feelings get hurt, when wishes don’t come true. And my heart breaks. I remember the pain of childhood hurts, and the last thing I want is for my baby to feel them too. As she turns five, I want to wrap her in a bubble and keep her safe from those hurts. I know too that her problems will be bigger now as she gets bigger and her world grows as she enters school. Gone are the days that my kisses can solve all her problems. And I grieve for the loss of being able to make everything better. Okay, now I’m crying again. Give me a minute, I’m going to go research “child sized bubbles” on Amazon. They have those, right? Ok, they don’t have those, I totally checked.
So I guess this means I need to start dealing with what we call “big emotions” in my house. To celebrate my sweet daughter’s fifth birthday, I am making the following pledges to her and to myself:
1.) I will stop trying to be a perfect mother. I don’t need to be a perfect mother. Perfect mothers aren’t real, and I’m pretty sure my kids would rather have a real mom than a not real mom. So there you go. Also, I read
somewhere the other day that not being a perfect parent is a gift to your kids because then when they have children they aren’t constantly trying to live up to this perfect parent ideal. See, I’m doing it for her!
2.) Accept that my daughter is going to feel pain as she explores the world. Know that I will not be able to fix it all, but that’s okay. I will still be here to hold her and kiss her and let her know that there will always be at
least one safe harbor for her in the world, no matter what storms she faces. And maybe I will eventually find a grown up sized bubble that we can both go in and roll down a hill, wheeeee! Which brings me to number 3.
3.) We are going to have more fun. Year number 5 is going to be about fun, for the both of us. Rolling down hills in bubbles? Yes. Desperately cleaning the house before the next playdate? No. Time to start accepting that my house will always be a mess, but you know what, we’ll be busy getting grass stains on our pants, nail polish on our toes, and whatever the heck else Miss Five Years Old wants to do that day and I’m to excited about that to waste energy feeling guilty about messes. So I’m letting it go. Not that I’m going to do less cleaning, I’m just going to stop feeling guilty about whatever hasn’t gotten done that day. Don’t worry, I’ll still shove the dirty undies in the closet when you come over.
In the meantime, we have a party to plan! So this smart, sassy, gorgeous, funny, fast as the wind, nearly five year old and I have some decorating to do.
So tell me mamas, how was Year 5 for you? Did you deal well with it or were you a hysterical mess like me? Which birthday has been toughest for you? Let me know your coping strategies and how you celebrated. We’ll get through this together!
12/6/2012 03:23:59 am
Just wonderful Meaghan. You are a fabulous mother (and a funny writer). Fiona and Charlotte are 2 very luck girls :)
12/6/2012 04:20:47 am
Great first post!!! I can't wait to read more! I love your writing style. Sounds just like you! So cute :-) I need to be better about #3, too. I have to remind myself that it's okay if the house isn't tidy. It's more important to play with my quickly growing kids!
12/6/2012 04:27:50 am
love it megs! hollah to the skidmore english department! that's right, i said hollah. xoxo kay
12/6/2012 04:50:52 am
This made me tear up for sure Meghan! I struggled as well when my son turned 5...I remembered thinking that age 4 was a really big deal, he really wasn't a toddler anymore and the baby was slipping away. Little did I know that 5 was really the BIG DEAL! Kindergarten is definitely the milestone we all make it. It is a very big deal. He has blossomed in the last few months since starting "big kid" school and is truly a little person. Wait...not so little, remember Mike? ;) One of the things I do try to remind myself is that although they are not babies or toddlers anymore, they are still little kids. They still need us to go easy on them, and I try not to expect more than I should. Because of the incredible thoughtfulness and smarts that they offer up each day, I sometimes forget this. He still needs my big hugs, kisses, songs before bed, those finger snacks :) In the same breath that I use to tell him what I big boy he is, I always remind him that he'll always be my BABY boy, even when he's over 6 feet tall. This little reminder always gets me the best smiles.
12/6/2012 05:02:09 am
Great stuff. Love the pledges.
12/6/2012 07:22:02 am
I love this post Meghan! Strangely I had almost the opposite feeling at the 5th birthday...of course my big man is five (also having a 3 year old and new baby, he was my big guy). Kindergarten, sure!...then Kindergarten really hit. He is gone all day from me, every day. He has a whole life away from me, and its terrible and wonderful. I love your pledges, and hope to do the same. It really is amazing to see them becoming their own independent selves, but he is still a baby, even if he wears big kid shoes!
12/6/2012 09:41:16 am
Beautiful! It is crazy hard to watch them grow up up and away, I love your idea of the child sized bubble. No one ever tells you how often your heart will break when you become a mother! I also love your voice, look forward to more of these!
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