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Saturday, October 29, 2005

I don't want to get it over with

So much of our lives we're waiting for the next thing to happen. As soon as I go to college... As soon as I graduate from college... Get engaged... Get married... Get that new job... Buy a house... Have a family.

We do it with our kids too. I can't wait for him to walk... I can't wait for him to talk... Eat on his own... Be toilet trained... Tie his own shoes... Go to school. Paramedic Friend once told me that the reason she wanted to have her kids close together (they're 17 months apart), was so that she could "get it over with." That made me so sad. Raising Toddler in Chief isn't something to just get through.

Raising a kid isn't like getting a PAP smear from your gynecologist--something to endure or just get through as quickly as possible and then forget about. It just happens so fast as it is. Sleepless nights, spit-up, nursing--it's all history.

Those five a.m. feedings were my favorite part of the day. In the darkness of his room, I tried to absorb every detail. The weight of him in my arms. The motion of the rocker. The warmth of his hand on my breast. It was our special time. I didn't want it to end. But it did as soon as he started sleeping through the night. And we learned to enjoy each other in different ways. And I try to sear his presence into my memory for when he goes off to school. Because it's not that far away.

Even the stuff I dislike (poopy diapers and whining, for example) will be gone soon too. I don't want to just get through it. I want it to linger and intoxicate me. Especially because the faster he grows up, the faster my own life whirls by. I know that my life was somewhat put on hold when we decided to have kids. And I fantasize about getting my masters someday when the kids are off at school. But most definitely not at the price of having it all behind me too soon.

6 comments:

  1. Too true. We seem to always be in a hurry for the next stage. Now with my little Pumpkin I wish it would all just slow down, she is growing too fast for me. With each new thing she can do something else dissapears, and it will never return. I also don't understand people who want to "get it over with". This is too wonderful to want to just get it over with.

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  2. Theoretically, I'm in favor of living in the present, not waiting for the next big thing to happen or the current difficult thing to end. Practically, I have a hard time focusing on and living in each moment especially at times when everything seems difficult.

    I must confess lately I've been wondering when my youngest's terrible twos will end. I've been through it twice with the older ones, and worse, we just barely got through my middle one's freaky fours. You remind me that I need to savor what I can--the adorable mispronunciations of a two-year-old, the kindergartner's first sounding-out of words, the third grader's dressing up like Warren G. Harding for his school's historic Halloween performance tomorrow. Like you say, it will be over so soon.

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  3. Mike Carrato5:26 AM

    Hi Suzanne!

    This post really resonates with me. I view the passing of time my kids as bittersweet, and I find that sometimes I have to force myself to enjoy the moment a little more.

    I remember a time when I couldn't wait for my daughter to get past toddlerhood, not because of any dislike of that age, but rather because I couldn't wait to "get to know her better." I wanted to be able to interact with her on more than just a "goo-goo ga-ga" level, get to know her personality and likes and dislikes and all that. But now that she's past that (still only 4, but not a baby anymore), I miss those eary days when I could hold her and be her whole world for a little while.

    Don't get me wrong, I still really enjoyed the toddler years... and I don't feel like my anticipation of later years took anything away from my enjoyment of those precious early interactions. I'm glad that I did force myself to stand still and enjoy it. But it's still something that I miss, dirty diapers and all.

    Sometimes I think that our obsession with the future is the reason why adulthood seems to go by so fast. We are always waiting for the next thing to happen: next paycheck, next deliverable, next vacation, next house, next baby milestone... adult life seems to be obsessed with getting to the next milestone, as opposed to the kid mindset, which is all about enjoying the moment with no regard for the future. For kids, living in the moment comes naturally; for adults, we have to work at it.

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  4. I have a friend who wanted to have twins for that same reason - to get it all over with more quickly. I'm looking at my nearly-two-month old and I wonder how on earth anyone could be in such a hurry to get through this stage. True the nightwakings and constant feedings can be difficult, especially with other kids and a household to run, but I've realized that slowing down and not fretting so much over how difficult the various stages of childhood can be can really make this so much more enjoyable. Too bad I'm just now realizing this though - the third time around.

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  5. It takes a lot of discipline to live in the moment and not treat life like a dress rehearsal.

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  6. This is how we all feel on our good and best days. Bad days, maybe not so much. :^) But the not getting through with it quickly in one reason I'm glad I have the luxury of spacing my kids apart - one grows and another one comes along with more great moments.

    I think if people read this blog in conjunction with your comments about preschool, it's easy to see that you're just sad because preschool is another thing that puts other things behind you. And it's hard when every other kid is going to preschool and your kid isn't because you don't want them to, but the impact is still the same - you life changes. Suddenly all of TIC's playmates aren't available anymore . . .

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