No changing diapers. No gaiting stairs. No baby-proofing the house.
No fighting over cell phones. No asking if they can borrow the car. No staying up late worrying about where they are or what they’re doing.
In the world of parenting, you might say we’re right smack in the eye of the hurricane.
Ten years into the adventure that is parenthood, I can honestly say this is the easiest it’s ever been. When the kids were small, I had to keep my eyes glued to them every second of the day, lest they stick their finger into an open socket or smash the glass on the oven door with their head (both things that actually happened, by the way). Now they can finally take care of themselves. For the most part.
For example, I no longer have to help Boogieface get dressed, pour milk into her cereal, or reach the monkey bars. And I can’t remember the last time she freaked out about her sock “feeling weird.” As for The Animal, I no longer have to spend my days wondering what he’ll break next or making sure he isn’t up to something that could endanger his life or the lives of others. Heck, I can hardly justify calling him The Animal anymore.
This lack of drama has been a real boon for my psyche but not so great for my writing. Turns out life’s pretty boring when life’s pretty boring. Then again, less time writing equals more time for napping, which is always a plus.
I’m no idiot, of course. I realize this momentary peace is just that. Therefore I’m going to soak up every last second of it. Because somewhere out there, just beyond the horizon, loom the Teenage Years—an out-of-control storm of hormones and adolescent angst that’s barreling down on us like a runaway freight train. And from what I’ve seen and heard from others, when it strikes, it’ll make the first half of our parental journey seem like a leisurely walk in the park. Heaven help us.
What a cruel joke. You spend so many years caring for, training, and grooming your children so that they can be somewhat independent and presentable enough to take out into public. Then, right as things seem under control — WHAM! — the hormones kick in, and your daughter starts posting seductive, ducky-face selfies on Snapchat, while your son’s voracious appetite and addiction to cheap body spray slowly drains your bank account. It’s just not fair!
So this is it—that brief yet glorious period of time when my kids still want me to kiss them goodnight but are old enough to wipe their own behinds. I know how ephemeral this moment is, so I’m going to do my best to appreciate it as I remember the sleepless nights of the not-so-long-ago past and prepare for the sleepless nights of the not-so-far-off future.
You know what? I better go take a nap…while I still have a chance. ~