Friday, June 19, 2009

The Paradox of Parenting

As my Mother-in-Law said, "this was the longest and the shortest week ever."

I agree. From our four-day break last weekend, I gleaned peace.. I gleaned some calm.. I gleaned some precious time with best friends that I rarely get to see in the hurried waters of life.

And a funny thing happened, on the way back to the Forum. Traveling back from the wedding festivities, we were heading down a gorgeous, scenic North Carolina byway on our way back to Chapel Hill to pick up the kiddo from the loving exhausted grandparents.

As we emerged into the final stretch of the open road, surrounded, summoned, by Piedmont rolling hills, green fields, and cows with a Southern drawl, I felt the strangest emotional tug I'd ever felt.

I wanted that road to stretch out further and further in front of us, each bend rounding a little longer and keeping us away from our goal. I wanted each hill to climb a little bit higher, allowing us a generous view at the peak, dropping us gently down towards our sleeping child. I wanted to never get there.

Yet I wanted to get there so badly. I wanted to open the door to his room, peek inside the Pack 'n Play at my adorable, cherubic napping son, and be there in front of his adoring eyes when he awoke. I wanted him to jump up to his toddler feet, open his arms wide, and say, "Mama came back."

And in the tug, the emotional roller coaster that is pregnancy got the best of me. I had had a myriad emotions over the course of the wedding weekend.. oft to be expected when good friends get married. Expected when you're surrounded by good friends that are already married, with whom you've spent years.. decades getting to know individually as humans. Then, as one unit in marriage.

All of this. The generosity of time, allowing us this many memories and mental snapshots to live by. The reminder of good friends.. old friends.. friends that have known you through incredibly rich years of life. The shred of peace I obtained while being simply by myself (if not just for a few hours.) My husband and I, as one unit, no hangers-on, alone with just the open road ahead of us to share.

I wanted to hold onto these untenable things, yet I wanted to whisk them away with one wave to reunite with my one-and-only, turning-two toddler. To look into his blue eyes, watch his grin grow, then listen to him as he told me all the ways he loved, learned, played, missed, and grew. Without us there.

I think this is the paradox of parenting.


Kim June 19, 2009 at 4:59 PM  

OH isn't it though! I feel this so often these days...when I get an hour to myself and I can still hear him outside playing with his dad. I miss him and want to be the reason he's giggling so loudly but then I look at my glass of wine and focus on Y&R and think ahhhhh this is how it used to be. Well said my friend!

septembermom June 19, 2009 at 5:55 PM  

Your love for Owen blossoms even more when you miss him. You're so right about the double pull of self vs. Mommy. You're a great Mommy because of all these emotions. Hope you're feeling well these days!!

Casey June 19, 2009 at 7:36 PM  

I'd have to experience four glorious days away from my kids to see for myself...

Glad you had fun and hope you're feeling better these days!

Jeanne June 21, 2009 at 10:43 AM  

Sounds like you had some really great couple time together. My guess is, had the car broken down so that you had to spend another full day away from your baby, you'd have felt very differently. You can only experience that tug in the certainty of knowing that you're shortly to see your child, and that he's being cared for by someone who loves him as much as you do.

Jenners June 21, 2009 at 4:48 PM  

Beautifully said. I know just what you mean.

Keely June 21, 2009 at 6:08 PM  

Aw, so true! Some days I feel like I just need an hour to myself, and then I spend it with hubby & son anyway.

Maybe it would just be nice to feel like there's an option...

Anonymous,  June 23, 2009 at 4:13 AM  

It's a beautiful post.

I always want a little time away and then I can't wait to get home when I get it. Funny how that works.

Janna Bee June 24, 2009 at 5:42 AM  

I think you hit the nail on the head with this one.



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