Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The mommy sandwich

I'm in a unique situation here as a mother. I'm stuck right now in the middle of two extremes: diapers and dating, crawling and college, tantrums and, well, bigger tantrums as I try to parent an infant and an emerging adult; stages in life I've decided to be very similar.

I must preface this mini-rant by saying that both these children are really good girls. Peyton, at eight months, is easy going and happy just about all the time. She's still a baby, however, so I spend huge chunks of my day (and night) tending to her every need. Sutton, the eighteen-year-old, has been very easy to raise. She makes good grades, is a hard worker, and, for the most part, makes wise decisions.

The issues I've come to abhor in my frustrating quest as "Everymom" really came to a head as my youngest arrived and demanded my constant parenting while my oldest determined simultaneously that she was too old to be parented. It was as if oldest one decided that "Oh good! Mom has a new baby and will be so busy and so distracted that she won't have the time or the inclination to worry about where I'm going or what I'm doing, so I'll just make these decisions, go these places, and do these things because I think it's okay."

Imagine her surprise (and disappointment) the past nine months as not only have I continued to stay atop of her comings and goings, doings and not doings, but I've become even more diligent regarding her life, her choices, and made it my goal to squeeze in a few more mom-sermons and life-lessons in the dwindling months we have remaining under the same roof. That too-long sentence is indicative of how I've spent our time together recently, with me being too afraid to take a breathe during this life crash course and pause for fear that I'll neglect to tell her something so important that my exclusion of it will negatively affect the rest of her life. Oh, the pressure!

Then there are those hormones; hers not mine, thankyouverymuch. PMS grabs a hold of her and squeezes and contorts her until she is almost unrecognizable. Fortunately, we are a family of late-bloomers so I've only dealt with this aggravation a few years, but boy can she be mean as a snake. We walk big circles around her. Reagan and Keaton come to me with requests for rides or homework help or big-sister assistance because they are just too afraid of the wrath they'll endure from the Great Grump.

I keep reminding myself that this is all normal, yet another age and stage I must stumble bleary-eyed through as I try and create a good, honest, loving, and hard-working person I can send proudly into the world. She's going to be okay. She has a strong faith, a staunch work ethic, and a family that loves her very much. What more can I do?

I look at the youngest and wonder if I'll be this diligent and worried in 18 years when she's nearing graduation? I expect that I will be, maybe more so as I reflect on the mistakes I made with her siblings.

I'm sandwiched now between the grabbing on and the letting go. I struggle with the push-pull of mothering that breaks your heart. This is hard. This is invigorating. This is my life and for now, even with all this drama, the frustration and the tears, I'm proud and so very thankful.


Abbie said...

I so truly truly admire you. What a WONDERFUL mother you are! It may not feel like it sometimes when you are living it, but hear it from me, a person looking from the outside, what an awesome job you are doing, and I only hope that someday my little Livie will have the same values that you have instilled in your wonderful children! :) Thanks for being such a cool mommy-example :)

Andrea said...

Do you ever feel like the red flag in the middle of a tug-of-war rope?

The Forney Four said...

you're so inspiring. What a sweet post. And that picture of you is very beautiful. I hope I can make it to those teenage years!!

wozog said...

Great Site, your family looks beautiful. How often does your baby poop? My brother is getting married and he is worried he and his wife has to change the diapers like 3 times a day. But I think you have to change it like 6 times right?? I came because you visited my site, but you blogs are actually pretty good. Visit my site again, I scratch your back you shave mine. =)

Devin said...

Abbie, you are always so sweet. I appreciate your comments so much.

Andrea, yes, a constant tug-o-war. They all like to put me in the middle.

ForneyFour, you'll make it and you'll wonder how you did. Unscathed? Not necessarily.

Wozog, LOL! Well, if the baby is breastfeeding, there tends to be a little more poop than if the baby takes formula. In the beginning they poop Sorry. Once they get older, it slows a bit. My youngest is now 8 months and once or twice a day is about it. One warning though...they keep doing it and you have to keep "tending" to it until they are much older than 8 months; THOSE are the trying years. Tell your brother I said good luck; buy some waders and a gas mask and he'll be fine.
I'll bring my shaving kit over.


Anonymous said...

i love this post. sandwiched between grabbing on and letting go..can't imagine saying it any better! i'm so happy to have found your site...allison

scmom (Barbara) said...

I'm almost in the same boat. My oldest is 18 and my youngest is five. They are very similar, developmentally, right now. I noticed when my daughter (5) was in preschool, that I was saying the exact same things to the preschooler as I was to the late teen.

And those mean streaks -- not PMS, because my son has them too. He's meaner than cat dirt sometimes.

He's just been accepted at his first-choice college. In some ways I am so afraid to let him go, but in some ways he NEEDS to go. I think God makes them this way so we will be ready to see them off. If they were still sweet like babies, we'd never let them leave our sides!

Amanda said...

Devin that was beautiful. I have often wondered what it must be like for you with one ready to leave the nest and one having just entered it. Now I know.

You're doing a great job!