Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Life Through the Eyes of a Toddler

I'm often asked what is the best part about being a parent. It's been an incredible 16 months filled with new discoveries, and seeing the world through my son's eyes lets me notice things in a unique way. The best part of being a mom is discovering the joy in every day.

In the words of John Mellencamp: "Life goes on long after the thrill of living is gone." In particular these middle years, 30s and 40s (and maybe older) are challenging. Your 20s is all about new challenges: college, falling in love, the start of a career, buying houses, pets, children. It's a revolving door of challenges and opportunities.

By the time you're in your 30s you've kind of settled into life. I've been married for seven years, have had a great job for eight years, live in my dream house and have an amazing child. Life on paper (and in actuality) is pretty amazing. But unlike my 20s there's not the obvious or necessarily exciting "what's next". I've answered that question with running challenges, vacations, drinking the good champagne on Tuesday and lingering Sunday brunches.

We waited six years to have a child. It was a long wait filled with fertility drugs that made me a crazy person followed by three long years of waiting in adoption. The wait was agonizing at times. Then he arrived, and it was even more amazing than I thought it would be. When you first have a child it's a blur. It's a whirlwind of figuring out what the heck you're doing and how to keep this vulnerable, small human alive. Then you settle into parenthood, and it's not easy. It's certainly the most challenging job one can have. And it can be mind numbingly tedious. Sometimes my son wakes up at 6 am on a Saturday, and by noon I feel like I've put in two days. 

During a sick day a few weeks ago. Check out the attitude with this one.
But those long, exhausting days are offset by the wonder of seeing the world through a child's eyes. I love watching my son discover life. Small things - clapping his hands, waving, saying hi to everyone, watching birds on our feeder - are monumental things. His smile is infectious. He loves to climb everything and then has the biggest smile when he realizes what he's accomplished.    

He has such a fun personality, and not only am I in love with this little dude, but I really like him too. Seeing the world through the eyes of a child is certainly the greatest gift of parenthood. He has no preconceived notions, no biases, no worries. He's a fearless little guy who puts 100 percent of his curiosity into everything he does. It's nothing short of remarkable.

This kid loves his dogs.
Yes the middle years are hard. Sometimes I look at my days and think wow, this is 37. It feels really adult. Our six year wait to have a child was long and emotional, and it took up a lot of time in my 30s. However I am grateful every day for that wait. Not only did we fill that six years with great travel and memories, but it gave me the perspective I needed to enjoy my child more. When he throws a tantrum instead of being frustrated I laugh at how cute he is. I'm patient and appreciative of being a mom.

We should all strive to see life through the eyes of a child. It's strange and wonderful, and it reminds me how momentous every day can really be. 

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