This week, random.org handed me Mama Kat prompt number two: Your biggest parenting challenge and/or joy.
I have two children, Tenley (15) and Wayne (12). There was never any question that being a mom was a goal for me. I have never been disappointed that I chose to have children, and despite all of the poop, human pacifier-ness of those first months, sleep deprivation, homework monitoring, mom-taxiing, Barney viewings, close calls almost breaking my neck tripping over Hot Wheels cars, goodie bags with cheap plastic crap, and a thousand other up-and-down parenthood experiences (dance, gymnastics, running, football would take a whole additional post), it is still my core purpose in life.
The challenge? Reconciling the ideal of the family I envisioned, with the reality of the one I ended up with. Before I had kids, I had a vision of being the house in the neighborhood where everyone congregated. Instead I walk into the house sometimes to loud rowdy boys and am annoyed that I have to stay "on" until they leave. Before I had kids, I envisioned my offspring dressed in durable, stylish, clean, ironed clothes. Instead (and this comment applies to my son as opposed to my daughter) I see a kid who really doesn't care (much) that his Croc (that he is not supposed to be wearing to school anyway) is missing a back strap or that he is going on his first "date" in gym shorts and a tshirt from a summer camp. I envisioned children sitting down at their desks in their rooms, getting their homework done studiously. Although my daughter has adopted better work habits, I still walk in on my son "doing his homework" at the computer ... with YouTube on the screen (and they AREN'T instructional videos)!
Even with all of that, I guess the verses I chose for their birth announcements sum up the joy with which Tenley and Wayne were welcomed into the world (I just didn't know the world would be quite so chaotic!).
Is there someone there that knows us,
Said we'd give you all our love?
Everything we feel for you
Started many ages ago.
Long before we knew you
Long before we met you.
We were sure we'd find you
Now you really are here and
now at last we know.
That long before we knew you,
we loved you so.
-- Jule Styne