the time I decided to give up being negative for Lent (i.e. not well at all). Most recently, I've been home-bound with children sick with the stomach flu. The thing about having two kids is you get double of everything. Once you recover from one bug, it's time for the other kid to catch it. So we've been in cleaning, laundering, de-germing, and healing mode. It's awakened in me a deep sense of gratitude for our general health, for recovery, and for modern luxuries like washing machines, television, and Pedialyte Freezer Pops.
It's also reminded me of the many changes in our lives as our kids get older. It has been a long time since both kids were so miserably sick, although it seemed pretty continuous for the first couple years of both their lives. As they are growing, their immune systems are strengthening along with the rest of their bodies. It seems like they come home each day showing us something new they can do. Brady is working on doing the monkey bars, and has become an excellent Lego builder and Star Wars Jedi. Maryn is now reading independently as keeps up a continuous flow of imaginative chatter, regardless of whether anyone else is around. She also enjoys riding her bike and building things (Lego creations, train tracks, Leprechaun traps) with Brady. Both are excited about their upcoming birthdays--Brady will be 7 at the end of this month, and Maryn will be 5 at the end of the next month. Somehow, this has seemed like a bigger transition than the others. When they were 4 and 2, I began to finally get a handle on this parenting thing, and they started becoming best friends. Five and 3 still allowed me to think of them as my babies. Six and 4 has been a transition with both of them in school full time. Brady finally started to grow, and Maryn quickly caught up with him, outgrowing three wardrobes this fall and winter. Now I have to shop for their clothing in the kid section, and many of the coupons I receive through various email subscriptions are for toys and supplies they have outgrown. We got rid of their carseats and replaced them with booster seats, and they are both proud of their "big kid" identities (although Maryn still enjoys playing baby).
As one who struggled through early parenthood and babyhood, I don't regret these changes. I can certainly relate to Glennon Melton's viral Momastery blog post Don't Carpe Diem--even though everyone reminds me to enjoy these times because they go by so fast, there are many moments I've prayed for the clock to speed up. Likewise, I've embraced and encouraged their growing independence. And yet, the changes seem to be happening at an ever-escalating pace. My son pulled me aside the other day and whispered to me that he knew that Santa wasn't real and that the mommies and daddies bought the presents. It might have broken my heart if we had put a greater emphasis on Santa in our house, or if he hadn't had the mischievous grin on his face. Or if I hadn't known that he had recently watched the movie "Elf".
Nah, let's hold onto some childhood magic for as long as we can...