Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Wonder of It All

Here's an excerpt from my new, expanded gift book: All About Motherhood: "A Mom for All Seasons" and Other Essays.  Go to or your favorite online bookstore to order (make sure you get the new, expanded edition)! Hope you enjoy!

You know that catchy tune about “The wonder of it all…”  that you can’t get out of your head, even if it’s driving you nuts?
            Well, that’s sort of the way I feel about parenting. “The wonder of it all...” describes exactly how the whole process works out, starting with that first little sweetly squalling newborn with those tiny feet that look so tasty you could gobble them up, and culminating in a grown kid you’re dropping off at college.
            The process is so perfectly designed. For instance, I just adore newborn babies.  I can’t fathom a more wondrous, magical time than those first few weeks with an infant.  But imagine if that infant never grew up. Imagine having to change little diapers ‘round the clock for the rest of your life? If our infants stayed infants forever, we’d never get any sleep. We’d never get to go out to the movies with our spouse, without paying a babysitter or dragging Grandma out. And forget about ever wearing high heels again. Yes, if that little baby stayed little for too long, we’d surely go crazy.
            So, the baby miraculously evolves bit by bit into a toddler, surely a wondrous process. And toddlers—filled with curiosity and energy—are marvelous, of course.  But if they remained toddlers forever, we’d never get to the bank because of all the dawdling, and our walls would perpetually have crayon marks on them, and we’d never want to chance getting that expensive white sofa or manage to put all the toys away. We’d be singing the same song over and over or reading the same story over and over or playing Candyland for the rest of  our lives. And that would get tedious.
            So the wondrous little toddler grows into a school-aged child, and school-aged children are surely marvelous. I adore those elementary school years; playing Frisbee or tag, having real conversations about ponies or volcanoes, watching our kids take up music lessons or sports. But if they stayed that age forever, we’d look like old grannies at back-to-school night, and the piles of homework would never get off our dining room tables, and we’d be endlessly mired at soccer fields or baseball fields, so that the laundry would never get done. So as much as I adore elementary school kids, I must admit it’s a wonderful thing that they do move on.
            I’ve always loved teenagers, to tell you the truth. I think they get a bum rap, because they’re really a lot of fun. I love having a house full of teenagers, love listening to their music, adore chatting with them about politics, religion, or football. But let’s face it, folks. If our kids remained teenagers forever, we would never get any rest.  We’d tire eventually of waiting for them to come home from dates, and we’d be worn out completely from carting them to various college fairs and tours. So as much as I love my teenagers, I must admit that at some point, it’s time to bid a bittersweet good-bye. And that’s just part of the wonder of it all.
Anyway, think of it this way: If you really love babies that much you can become a pediatric nurse. If it’s toddlers that are your thing, you can work in a preschool or become a pediatrician. If you love school-aged kids, well, of course, you can teach; you can take your pick between elementary and high school kids.
            So you see, the plan is perfect! And even though I don’t ever want my kids to grow up, I have to admit it’s a phenomenal blessing that they do. But no matter how old they get, I’ll still love their big feet and the sound of their raspy voices (though I’ll no longer nibble their toes). Ah, the wonder of it all!

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