Being a parent is both a job and a joy. I have a magnet at my desk at work that says "Parenthood - The only job that's REALLY full time." How true is this statement?? Parenting never goes away. Some days this makes me mad because I just want to be me - all by myself. I don't want to have to take care of everyone else's needs before I can attend to my own. Some days this makes me exhausted because the 'tending to everyone else's needs' just never seems to end. Ever. No, really, I mean E-V-E-R. Then there are some days when this makes me feel important because I have people who depend on me for their needs. Needs such as, "Mom, where is my ____?" (Fill in the blank with any item that is lost, misplaced, or maybe even in plain sight.) And some days this statement makes me feel sad because I can't really be with them full time like I wish I could. And then there are days when I am so happy about this statement because I know that parenting truly is the most important job I have.
I have had some recent milestones as a mother - you know - the little jabs in the arm that you feel when you see positive results and progress in your children. The one that comes to mind most easily is Hayden's maturity. Yes, I know that because he is male that he will, by definition, be immature until he is about 30 years old, but I did say progress, not completion! He has been showing maturity is several areas, but mostly what it boils down to is respect and consideration for others. He's thinking more about the world (and the people) around him and less about himself and his own feelings. It's wonderful to catch him in the middle of it. I sorta stand back, and go "Wow - he's really growing up!" It's awesome.
And Mallory (who will always be my little girl, my baby) is getting ready to start 2nd grade. She's a little social butterfly, she's a space cadet, and she loves attention, but I'm starting to notice something unique and interesting about her. She not only loves to receive attention, she also loves to give attention. She doesn't care who she talks to or plays with. It doesn't matter if they are much younger or much older than her. It doesn't matter if they don't look the same or talk the same. She does not show preference or avoidance. She is just as happy to play the 3 year old little boy who lives next door as she is to spend the afternoon with a grown up. And to me, that is amazing. That she hasn't developed a sense of who is different from her.
So, today I feel successful as a parent. Because even though they drive me crazy when they argue with, pick on and nag each other CONSTANTLY, they also make me so proud when I hear them say encouraging, kind or thoughtful things to the people around them. I honestly believe that the mark we make on the world will be made on the souls of the people with whom we interact. I try to work on myself and my "mark" every day - and I'm seeing that in the kids, too! Hooray!