word of the day: present \ˈpre-zənt\ not past or future; existing or happening now
I went back and forth between "present" and "volatile" tonight. Two words that don't really have that much in common, but for whatever reason they keep bumping into each other in my brain.
Volatile did not exist in my spoken vocabulary until Jake used it a few months back to describe a certain person in our house and all her two-ness. Now it describes the very essence of my life. Somedays it's oatmeal versus toast. Others it's jeans versus green leggings or the black shirt instead of the gray one. A few weeks ago, we had to take a lunch break hiatus because, in a great lapse of judgment, I cut her peanut butter sandwich in half.
I am learning that the thing she wants is usually the opposite of what I want, and so, each day brings new boundaries to test and new deals to negotiate. (Me: Lily, let's read one book before bed. Lily: I want to read two books. Me: We can read two books. Lily: I want to read lossa books. Oy.)
Lately I find myself in the middle of these moments where part of me wants to tap out. Let an expert handle it. Three hours into the potty training process and I was feeling totally unqualified for the task at hand. So go many moments of this whole parenting gig.
Then yesterday, I was sitting and watching Norah cruise the furniture in our living room. She let go for a moment, and I thought she might walk to Jake (She didn't. Appears to be a little more of a risk calculator. Can't imagine where she gets that tendency). In that moment though, I had this instinctual feeling like I needed to capture the moment. My phone was in the kitchen though which forced me to be present in the actual moment (a novel concept, I know).
I was reminded in that split second that so much of my job as a parent is simply to be present in every moment with my kids.
It actually reminds me of one of my favorite lines from How I Met Your Mother (weirdly enough). Marshall was beside himself because Ted's girlfriend had never seen Star Wars. His logic: "The only people in the universe who have never seen Star Wars are the characters in Star Wars and that's cause they lived them. That's cause they lived the Star Wars."
I want to live the Star Wars. The potty training bathroom celebrations and the accidents on the way up the stairs. The sleeping through the night and the "I need a drink of water" at 6 a.m. The whole ceramic pumpkin and the shattered one. The peanut butter sandwich, oatmeal, graham cracker, and pancake (their rank changes on any give day).
I've been thinking lately that if Jake and I don't love our kids well in each moment we have with them, who else will?
So in those moments where it would be easy to tap out, I've taken to closing my eyes and breathing in the reminder to love well.
Also to keep sandwiches whole and to never suggest jeans as a clothing option.
And, let's be real, of course there are moments to capture which I will not miss.
Like Lily's first library card.
Or Norah's champion free-standing.
Or the fact that when I set out to make homemade Dalmatian costumes this year, I sort of made cow costumes. The guesses were about 50/50 when we went "Sticker Treating" at the library last week. Cutest Dalmatian cows around. No disparity there.