As a mom going on 10 years now, you'd think I'd have this parenthood thing all figured out by now. Maybe in some areas I do, like how to swaddle a newborn and how to survive on little sleep, but the reality is each phase and child are different with new challenges. Plus, I was just 19 when my first daughter was born. In many ways, her dad and I were still children ourselves. I was writing college papers while she played blocks by my feet at 9 months old. We lived with her grandparents for the first three years of her life as we created a stable life for our family to grow by finishing college, saving money, and buying our first house by 21.
The truth is I'm growing as they are growing. Regardless of my young mom status, I think this applies to every mom on some level, as our job of learning is never done as a person. As I'm teaching them how to be patient for the snack about to be served or to share a beloved toy with a sibling, I'm learning patience myself. It is growing patience with them and patience with myself. It is a never ending task of learning and testing. And, boy, does parenting test that patience muscle over and over. As I try to model the basic positive character traits we aim for our children to know as they spread their wings within the world, I'm still fortifying my own inner person.
Today there isn't just growing — there are growing pains. I sent my second baby to kindergarten for the first time. My first child was eager, excited, ready, and willing to go. Sure, I had a little tear in my eye as we parted ways, but she was confident in herself enough to skip to her desk and make a friend. My son is far different. He's a lot like me in public settings. Quiet, timid, wanting to be liked but unsure of how to break down the communication walls to let people in at times. As he sat there waiting for his class to start with red rimmed eyes and tears threatening to fall, it broke my heart. It was one of the hardest moments of being his momma so far to walk away and hope he has a good day. Walk away, cutting the emotional heart string of dependence a little more. You'd think sending the second child into the school world would be easier, not harder.
But, I know it is best for him to grow — and for me. I can see that now with my life experiences, and one day he will too as he sees what some safe independence can give him. We aren't meant to stay in the same routine forever. This new season, this new chapter in life does bring change to my rather-stay-the-same-boy, however change also brings new spouts in us all.
Now, my days are a little quieter. Less roaring in his sister's face and couch jumping gymnastics. I miss him more than I thought I would. It will be good, though, this growing thing. He desires new friendships and playdates like his older sister has — this is a step towards that. He wants to read his own books and cards when we play board games. Now he's on his way! Growing isn't easy while we are in it, the stretching and pulling of expanding, but it will be worth it. We aren't done growing just because we are now parents. We grow with them, learning how this world works or refining our own character right along with them.