My children are four years apart in age. Four years, and two weeks, to be exact.
Maren was an only child for all of her baby and toddler years. I have magical memories of those years with her. Some moments were magical, at any rate. Many days were long and frustrating and I wondered if being a stay-at-home mom was good for either one of us. But the chaos is lost in The Blur of raising small children, and I am left with a handful of crazy toddler stories and memories of happy long hours spent with my once wee one.
She was my little buddy when we moved out-of-state and Brad took on a challenging MBA program in addition to his already demanding full-time job.
I have many memories of Maren during those baby/toddler years. Once, in the grocery store, she climbed out of the (dreaded) car cart, and went around the corner.
I said in my best Mad Mommy voice, “Maren. You. Get. Back. In. The. Cart. Right. Now.”
I also assumed my Mad Mommy pose: one hip thrust out, foot tapping, eyebrow arched, arms crossed. I am a force to be reckoned with and Ye Shall Yield!
Maren did not come back from around the corner. I took some Mad Mommy steps and looked around the corner.
Recognizing the look of panic on my face, two moms at the other end of the grocery store aisle began pointing and swinging their arms to the right. I took off in the direction they were signaling. It was as if I was running the bases and they were waving me through. So, I ran. It took me two laps around the store to catch my little booger Maren. (Seriously, two laps around the whole store is embarassing.) I had to pass those same moms twice. It was a scene. The stinking car cart (WHO invented those things– NOT COOL) was abandoned near the apple sauce.
By the time I caught her, I was laughing too much to scold her. Because, really? Really Maren? You just did that?
I’m so thankful for our meandering grocery trips, our exploration of every park and playland in our area, our impromptu playdates, our library story hours and our one-on-one time. She introduced me to the idea of the simple pleasure of wonder.
Greta, as the second-born, has not had all of that focused attention. The richness of being a little sibling makes up for that in different ways, I think. But in the weeks since Maren has started school, I find myself enjoying Greta so very much. We are not in a hurry when we head to the grocery store: we have no other plans for the day, so we can stop and look at every little thing that interests her. She is allowed to push the tiny cart in the supermarket, a mini version of the cart I am pushing. It is the only thing more annoying than driving the behemoth car cart, something I did not think possible. It is my Achilles Heel, literally. She only stops the darn thing by crashing it into the back of me.
But I’m learning little things about her all the time, and our ordinary days are magical. We both miss Maren. We miss her desperately, actually. But we are finding our rhythm together, and I am happy for G to have this time alone with me the way her sister did four years ago.
She hollers for me to stop at her favorite fast food restaurant every time we pass it, regardless of the hour.
Whenever she wears a dress, she stops randomly throughout the day, twirls, and announces to the world, “I’m a PWINCESS.”
If I’m quiet, she says, “Wachu finking about Mom?”
Brad told her the other day, “You are a nut,” when she did something silly. She promptly, vehemently replied, “No, I’m a RAISEN.”
She continues to give all strangers/acquaintances the Greta Stink Eye. She’s been doing it since she was three months old, and she’s mastered it at age two.
Here are pictures of Greta and I at on the first day of school 2012, and the first day of school 2013. Maren may have gotten my red hair, but Greta might be more of a mini me.
These ordinary days are lovely. I know it each time her little fingers reach for mine in the parking lot, every time I wrangle her into her carseat, and every time I worry about what she eats.
Each season of parenting brings its own sweetness. I’m enjoying the ride.
These 24-7 parenting years are priceless, and I am so in love with my family.