Saturday, December 8, 2012

TheZoo is Growing Up!

Probably, the title of this post will apply to many more posts. This is the first in a long line of posts where I see TheZoo in a new way.
It's exciting, strange, exciting, odd, troubling, good, and did I say exciting?

Last week, at school, I found myself watching a mom and her young family. Her family dynamic looked very much like mine about two years ago. She has a teen and a younger school age child. She also had a small one around the age of 4 with her, two younger ones in a stroller and she was wearing one in a sling. From my headcount, that's one short of TheZoo, but the point is the great big group of tiny Littles and the very, very small number of  Bigs and Biggers.

She was constantly moving, keeping baby fed, dry and content. Keeping the next two within acceptable boundaries, jumping up to get them down from a table, or to keep their chair from toppling over.  At lunch time, it was all she could do to get the food out and into their mouths, shoving leftovers back in the bag, and chasing them back into the area designated for young children to play.

Other moms were engaging her in conversation that was ever interrupted...but not one of those moms ever got up to help her with any of those actions. I was remembering back when my family looked like that. So, I swept up the floor and wiped down the table after them when lunch was over. It is difficult to do those things with four small children hanging on you, especially in a public place. I remember being chastised by a couple of other moms for not cleaning up well after my family after lunch at school or while they were playing in the gated off area meant for small children. But they didn't offer to help me, either.

Now, our youngest is still just 2 1/2 yo. But. It's so different not having another one younger still. There's a freedom of movement, and moments of clear thought. Those moments are fleeting, but welcome.

I watched this family for a few minutes longer, willing myself to picture my family at that stage. I was waiting for those emotions of fondness for that time of life to surface. I waited. And waited.

It just wasn't happening for me. I have no doubt it will happen, sometime. But it's too soon. I still tremble at the end of each day due to sheer exhaustion keeping up with the littles here at TheZoo. I must have some idea of what it means to be war weary.

She's 2 1/2. We are that much closer to being done with diapers. We are down to three safety seats in the vehicle. Two years ago, we had FIVE safety seats! It's a good thing the other children have narrow backsides and could fit between them all.

Please believe that I am finding joy in today's life. I also managed to find joy in yesterday's life. But yesterday's life was hard. Today's is, too, but in a different way. Masses of entirely dependent small people with lack of biggers to help is draining and painful.  Today's life is still hard work, I wouldn't trade that. In fact, I welcome the hard work. It builds character and teachable moments. However, it IS still hard.

Knowing that TheZoo has moved on to a new, different season in life is refreshing. I am always looking to what ever might be next. I have a difficulty accepting what is now, building it and making the most of it before moving on. Give me changes, I thrive in that. I am learning, though. It has taken 16 years of having little babies always on my hip to get me to notice that life lesson. Now that I've finally noticed it, I hope to cultivate and grow in it. Not that I won't continue to look forward and plan, and even long for, future things. I will still do that, but I'll do it from the joy and contentment of my life now.