Monday, April 20, 2015
The girls were getting ready for bed, there was a lot of giggling and not a ton of putting on pajamas. I was laughing at their antics and trying hard to switch gears to the role of the parent who does enforce a bed time. This is the sacred rule for parents who want some down time; fail at this and your life will be in shambles for the next twenty four hours. Sure we (we=parents) all give the laid back parenting style a whirl, it is fun to go with the flow! I know very few people who actually enjoy bossing kids around, it is exhausting. However, a few "fun" late nights is enough to turn even the most casual of parents into believers in the bedtime routine. You see, each child has a time they will wake up in the morning. If you are one of the lucky parents with good sleepers and kids who can snooze past 7am (non-teens) then skip to the next paragraph and don't tell me about it because I am certain you will be smug and then I will be forced to challenge you to a rap off, like this. Our girls will wake up at 6am. It does not matter if there is a total eclipse of the sun, if they stayed up late, if they are sick---they will be awake and so too shall we, though Eric and I are savvy enough that we switch off the daily parental morning monitor as we daydream about the day that the girls can just get up and do their own thang.
Where was I going with this post?
Wait for it...
So the girls were laughing and carefree, not considering all of the variables that play a role in their daily life. Cordelia was wearing a blanket and underwear, running around making crazy sounds. Elise had on Eric's shirt and hat...and wanted us to call her Eric/daddy. They didn't think about their 6am wake-up or the fact that both of them are a bit under the weather. They didn't do the math and think that the bike-a-thon tomorrow would require a full night of sleep to ensure a zero meltdown factor. Neither of them considered the size of their bladders when they asked for big drinks before bed. Not a cloud of concern went across their young minds as they tried their hands at brushing their teeth, because that is our job. Eric and I worry about those things. We remind them to wear coats or suffer the consequences of Wyoming spring temps in the 40s. We worry about complete proteins and face-washing. OK, some real talk here, Eric worries about face washing. I just cannot make myself care if their faces are dirty, they have to figure that out sometime right?!
In the midst of the bed time chaos I looked at our girls from a different perspective, realizing that this is their childhood! Ahhh, crap (sorry Grandmas) the weight of that hits me at various times and it is intense! I am trying to give them a happy childhood. One with structure and stability and fun and learning and so on and so forth. It is enough to drive a well-meaning parent to the brink. I mean, come on! If we mess this up for them there will be no recovery, none. Thankfully I firmly believe that as long as we try our hardest to influence the elements over which we have control (bedtimes, tooth brushing, love, etc.) and do our best to ignore that over which we have no control (death, accidents, super volcanoes) we will be OK...or that is all we can hope for in this life.
So I looked at those kids and thought about their childhoods. I imagined how they will reflect on these times, or times like these, as only a grown-up can and I was happy. I was happy for these two girls who have such an amazing friendship (Cordelia recently told me that preschool is great except she doesn't get to be with Elise) and two parents who love them with everything. I hope and pray that their childhood has the right balance of structure and stability and fun that they will look back and think they had a happy childhood. If not then it is probably the fault of a super volcano and I just cannot be expected to handle that problem.