Thursday, September 5, 2013

Pushing through

I'm feeling melancholy today. I think Ben turning 5 has affected me more than I thought it would. For some reason 5 must be a threshold in my mind. Even though Ben won't be in elementary school for another year, I feel like he's starting to float away from me. I also think about the fact that I read somewhere that kids' brains are like sponges until age 5. They soak up everything. And I just hope we exposed him to enough good things to soak up.

He's getting so big. Not just physically, but mentally. Sometimes the connections he makes and the insights he has astound me. "Where did he learn that?" I think. And then I realize he didn't learn it. He just thought it up. And that's so awesome, but today it's making me have a real "Where is the time going? It's happening way too fast" moment.

Sometimes I'll watch one of the kids as he's doing something really funny or very This Age. I'll try to memorize the lines of his body, the cadence of his laugh, the tilt of his head so I'll never forget it. But I know I will. I try to remember what Ben was like at Sam's age and it's hard. Hard to remember him then and hard to imagine him in the future.

So I take pictures and videos and try to post the funny moments on my blog so I can remember. I'm also trying very hard to live in the moment. But right now I'm feeling very overwhelmed by the task of Raising Good Human Beings. There are so many things to think about: good nutrition, teaching values, setting limits but not being too strict, not "being their friend" but still having fun with them, not spoiling, learning colors and letters and reading and chemistry, instilling gratitude and manners and helping them to appreciate art and science and beauty and life. It's so much. Sometimes I take it all in stride and I know that little by little, day by day, through my actions and words my kids will learn what I want them to learn. But right now it seems like an impossible task and there's a part of me that thinks I squandered those sponge-brain years with Ben and I'm definitely squandering them with Sam.

Well, I've just got to push through. One of the exhausting but sometimes liberating facts of parenthood is that it just keeps going, whether you're ready or overwhelmed or not.

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