Some times, I just sit back and reflect on my life– things I have done, things I have done well, and things I wish I had never done at all. I reflect on the choices I have made that have had an impact on where I am today. I do not wish to live in the past, so, I try not to reflect on those things for very long and reflect, instead, on the future. I think about where I am headed and what I wish to do once I get there. I think about all the possibilities. I think about growing old and getting my hair all done up before meeting my bff’s for lunch. I know, however, that dreaming is not practical, and so I reflect on the present. I think about where I am right now. I think about my children. I think about my job. I think about how focused I need to be in order to finish my Master’s program. I think about my children.
Something scary happened last week. Very scary. I have been afraid of it for a while now. I am not sure how it happened, but last week I became the parent of a teenager. I mean, I know HOW it happened, I just have no clue where 13 years has gone!! I look at my daughter and still see that perfect newborn fresh out of my womb –with ruby-red lips and fingernails and a perfectly formed head with lots and lots of hair. I cannot help but still see her as my 7 lb 13oz bundle of amazing-ness. My daughter has changed me completely.
Let me tell you a few of the things I have learned or gained since her birth:
I have gained a crazy amount of gray hair– of which I’ve named every one of them after her.
I have more laundry than I know what to do with– because one outfit a day is just not enough.
I have learned the skillful art of hiding food I really want to eat– however, she has learned my hiding places and eats my delicious treats.
I have so much more respect for my father and stepmother– if my behavior was even a smidgen similar to hers, I am not certain how I made it to my 30’s.
I have learned why my parents never let me shop for my own clothes– I now realize that all of those outfits I thought looked crazy cool were hideous and should have been burned– so thrilled the 80’s style is coming back. o.O
I have learned that uneaten dinners probably SHOULD be eaten for breakfast. Cold– I cannot even begin to compute the amount of money I have wasted in uneaten food.
I have learned the awesome ritual of grocery shopping coupon sorting day– I still hate it as much as I hated it as a kid, but now I get to share it with MY kids!
I have learned why I was never allowed to go anywhere– all these kids are hoodlums and will corrupt my child!!!
I have learned that boy-crazy girls will drive me over the edge– again, not certain how I made it to my 30’s– my father had every right to lock me in a closet and never let me see daylight.
I have learned that feeling of unbelievable panic — malls, shopping centers, sports centers– yes, I now understand those parents that leash their children.
I have learned that I need more patience– I have to remember what it was like when I was 13 and would lock myself in my closet listening to my Walkman to escape reality. Ipods are simply the new Walkman.
I have learned that it was never that my parents did not listen to me– it was that I talked. All the time.
I have learned that I should have paid more attention in school– it is almost impossible for me to help with homework!!
I have learned that those friends you held so close in school– will come and go as quickly as the latest boy-band craze (except for NKOTB– they’re still HOT!)
I have gained invaluable insight into my child from the experiences of others– it is amazing how similar children react when certain situations take place (divorce, death, remarriage, etc.).
I have learned that my parents weren’t old when I was a kid— I am not even in my 40’s yet and I have a teenager. SCARY to think my parents were my age now when I was a kid– puts a lot into perspective.
I have learned that extra curricular activities for kids should come with a raise in pay at work– I simply cannot afford all of the things my teenager would like to do!
I have learned that time spent with my children is far more important than a spotless house– I do, however, still expect them to do their chores!!
I have learned that, apparently, the same things I was bullied for in school are still the same things kids are bullied over today– but you’re stronger than I ever was and will look back at these kids when you’re a famous singer/animator/dolphin trainer and laugh– or shoot them with your Dr. Horrible Death Ray. Yeah– you should probably just stick to laughing at them.
As you can see, I have learned and gained a lot of things over the course of the past 13 years. The most important thing I have learned, though, is this:
I have learned that there is no more complete love than the love a parent has for their child– there are just some things that have no comparison, and this would be one of them.
To my daughter, Emily, I wish for you to one day (when you’re WAY older) to feel for your own child what I feel for you. You make me so proud, angry, excited, scared, overjoyed and clueless all at once. You amaze me with the things of which you are capable. You make me laugh. You make me cry. You make me want to drink. Heavily. You make me want to hold you and never ever let go. You make me feel blessed every single day that you became my daughter. I cannot imagine my life without you in it. Here’s to hoping we both make it to the day you see 14…..
What are some of the things you all have learned over the years of parenting or just growing up? I’d love to hear about them!