So boy child went to the dentist by himself today. I had to call to make sure he was awake, for, as we all know, 15 year old boys will sleep until noon if allowed to and assuming that they are up and ready for an 11 am appointment is foolish. But the rest he did on his own. Our house is close enough to pretty much anything the kids need to get to without aid of a parental vehicle. Which is good because that frees up my time in the office to blog to you good folks!
But as I thought about boy child going to the dentist by himself I got misty. I remember, not too long ago, when I was a stay at home mom babysitting and telemarketing to make ends meet, I'd have long blissful chunks of my week where I could run out and do things with my kids. For example, a trip to the dentist was never just a trip to the dentist. It was the dentist, then the ice cream shop next door, then maybe a quick trip to the zoo and back home in time for a nap. I miss those days so much!
Every family progresses through the different stages of life. We are now in the stage where the children are independent enough to ride their bikes to just about all of their friends' houses. Since we both work full time, the kids have had to, for the last two years, take care of household chores during the summer (For which they get paid) and then make sure they don't set fire to themselves until I get home at 4. (Then they're allowed to set fire to themselves all night long...wait a minute!) The children like this arrangement, but I ache for the days when I played with them all day long. The museum, the zoo, even the grocery store was an adventure and I took my kids with me, mine and anyone else's I happened to have. My best parenting stories come from those lazy, crazy days of mud pits in the back yard, watermelon stains on the kitchen floor, the smell of fermenting mulberries, and Fisher Price toys everywhere.
I can hear my friends yelling, "BUT YOU HATED all of that! You complained constantly!"
That might be true, because I think we always complain about where we are and miss where we've been. I miss the days when a part time job was all I needed to satisfy even the wildest requests from the children, which generally involved a plastic zoo animal or a Matchbox car. Those simple days are gone. Now boy child wants a car in a year. Girl child wants to chase the Jonas Brothers all over the globe. (Okay, she went to a concert, but still...felt like we chased them all over!) Instead of the zoo, we go to Summerfest. I meaure how many hours I have to work by what shoes the children need for back to school. This year it's gonna make Rogan's day to see us coming up the walk. (I slacked last year and now they're wearing taped rags on their feet.)
So I work more, to make a good life for them. The children are more independent, because they have to be. I know we are teaching The Boy and The Girl valuable lessons for their adult lives. Neither is afraid to order a pizza by phone. Neither is afraid to ride their bike to the mini mart to get me a gallon of milk. And now, The Boy can go to the dentist without me. And in another few months, armed with a drivers' license, he won't need me at all.
I know this is the natural progression of life. I get that. But I miss the days when I would take them each by the hand and lead them through the mall on a wintery day. I miss having the answer to all of their many questions. I was Momma. I knew it all. I could get them anyplace. I was fearless.
For a short time I'd like to live one of those days again...just to remind myself that this stage I'm in right now is far better, more fun, more peaceful. That this stage is exactly where I should be.