There is nothing more glorious than two days off from work, in the middle of the summer, with no real responsibilities or plans. But, sometimes these days at home can be rough. Sometimes you just want to be Miss Cranky Pants. You might think I’m talking about myself (I have my moments), but the Crank-O-Matic of which I speak is my daughter. I think she got up on the wrong side of the bed both Saturday and Sunday (perhaps I need to move the bed?). The problem we always face is that, for me, weekends are meant to be a time of relaxation, whereas my daughter wants to go, go, go until she can’t go anymore. She gets bored and lonely stuck at home all day with a bunch of adults who are trying to unwind from the preceeding busy week. I never had that problem because my brothers and I are only four years apart, total. So, that means I had built-in playmates for any and every occasion. Lillia isn’t so lucky. And, that’s probably not going to change in the near future. Children are taxing – both on the mind and on the wallet. I can’t see the justice in bringing another kid into my already chaotic world. I’m not saying it will never happen, it’s just not going to happen right now.
I worry so much about Lillia. I wonder if she’s truly happy, or if her life is as miserable as her tantrums would have me believe. She’s such a complex person, even at age three. I mean, just look at her eyes in these photos. There’s so much going on in that little mind of hers, I worry that I’m somehow letting her down. I want to be the best mother possible, but it’s a struggle to live up to the expectations I set for myself, and the ones I perceive to be set by others. Interesting…this is my second post in less than a week on the topic of my parenting skills. But, the truth is that I do agonize over the decisions I make, and the minutes I waste. I am constantly reminded about the fleeting nature of childhood, and I feel like I’m always a step behind where I should be when it comes to taking good care of Lillia. I don’t just want to see her survive to eighteen – I want her to have a great life, a fulfilling life, and I don’t want to be the cause of boredom and misery. At the same time, though, I need down-time. Everyone needs it. But, it’s hard to justify putting on a movie so I can have an hour of reading time, or chill time, or just…time. I’m probably my own harshest critic, but it’s hard not to analyze everything I do when I know that everything I do matters…at least to a small life that has just begun.
Sure, parenting isn’t all sweetness and light, but there are moments when you are so in love with your child that you are pretty sure you’re going to cry or your heart is going to explode. For example, Damian and I took Lillia to see Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory at The Colonial Theatre today, and Lil fell asleep on me about a 1/2 hour into the film. As I held her there in my arms, I thought of how incredibly lucky I was to have this little person in my life, how wonderfully unexpected she was, how I wouldn’t change one thing. I’ll take the tantrums and the crankiness any day of the week in exchange for those few moments I get to hold her while she sleeps. And, people constantly tell me to “cherish these moments” because kids grow up so fast. I want to slap them and say, “Don’t you think I know that? Don’t you think I feel the pain of that everyday?” It’s almost cruel that the amount of time we are given to be mothers (or fathers) is so short. There’s no doubt that children will always need their parents (hell, I still live at home at twenty-six!), but it’s not the same after they get to be a certain age. Eventually, they no longer crawl into your lap just to snuggle, or ask you to read “one more story” at bedtime. I don’t need anyone to tell me that I will miss those moments when they’re gone.