I am conflicted as to how I feel to see my children grow up so fast. Keanen has been going to school since September 5th. I am so proud of him. It’s a French school and my little man does not speak a word of it. The first day, he was so nervous that I wanted to take him back home. But we both braved it. Now he goes without complaint. He even told me he made a new friend and then slyly added, “It’s a girl, but I don’t know her name”. Every day as I leave him, he goes in shyly and every day as I pick him up his face radiates with happiness. I fool myself by thinking that he is happy to see me. I think it’s because he has had an awesome day.
My brash Carmen, (as I am writing this), comes to me and whispers: “I have a secret. “ Pause. “I love you. Can I give you a hug and a kiss”? At first I can tell something is up. However I’ll take the hug and the kiss as I am sure this stage will not last too long. As soon as we drop Keanen off, Carmen and I color in the activity book Grandma Moser gave her. She is at a stage where the tantrums are now more controlled ( if that makes sense :)). Still loud though. After a brief movie, we then go to pick Keanen up. Yesterday we had to go in a cab. Alone. I am very nervous when I take a cab. I have to navigate in Bambara and then there’s always the struggle to negotiate a price. Let’s just say, we made it home in one piece but poorer than if I had gone with Yeah. : ) Hopefully that money will help that person more than me.
Kids say the darnest things. I am always surprised at Keanen’s knowledge and Carmen’s one liners. Like how Carmen will always say: “Keanen that is a great idea” or how Keanen told me what hallucinating means. It made me step back and appreciate the things that I have missed for so long. Working full time prior to our move, I missed out on huge steps the kids made. My main concern was to make sure that they were bathed, fed, read to, behaved well and were healthy. I missed the fascinating news, and the little things that made their personalities shine. Now I get to see them grow into these interesting human beings. I watch them fight with each other with a vengeance and the next minute after a good minute in time out, I watch them play like best friends till the next time they fight. This poem makes me want to spend every minute I can being a part of their lives. I’m not saying it’s all fun and games. There are days, I just want to sell Carmen off to the next street seller or “lose” Keanen 🙂 but I know their qualities far outweigh the screaming and fighting. My admiration for all stay at home moms has increased. The poem goes like this:
If I had to raise my child all over again,
I’d built self esteem first and the house later.
I’d finger paint more and point the finger less.
I would do less correcting and more connecting.
I’d take my eyes of the watch and watch with my eyes.
I would care to know less and know to care more.
I’d take more hikes and fly more kites.
I’d stop playing seriously and seriously play.
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars.
I’d do more hugging and less tugging.
I would be firm less often and affirm much more.
I’d model less about the love of power,
And more about the power of love.
My kids haven’t grown up all the way yet. However, this was my wake up call. Cherish your children and your loved ones. The time passes so fast and before you know it they are in school, all grown up and ready to let go. You may not be ready when that happens but if you do the things above you will more willing to let go.