the intimacy of child rearing

Between the yelling, the threats, the negotiations, and the bribes of the last 7 years, I'm pretty sure I'm the worst parent in the history of mankind. 

Who let this woman become a mother?

And yet my daughters snuggle up to me nightly, yearning for my acceptance and love. It's still far off, their realization that they don't need either of those things to have a happy life. I cling to their ignorance because I do need their acceptance and love. They set my sun and hang my moon.

Parenting takes everything you have (and then some) and rewards you inconsistently with unexpected gold: 

  • ·      The sweet, unsolicited kisses from my one year old
  • ·      The spot-on comedic timing and beautiful smile of my preschooler
  • ·      My 2nd grader very seriously asking the question, "is it hard to be a mommy?"
  • ·      The unprompted words "I love you" sprinkled throughout the day

Occasionally, at naptime or when goofing off on our king size bed before calling it a day, I am struck with the thought of how intensely intimate child rearing is. It's beyond knowing the smell of their skin and breath, and them knowing mine.  My desire for personal space has gone the way of the rotary phone.  I'm jumped on, sat on, snuggled with, and used as a vehicle to get from point A to point B.  It doesn't seem to matter where I am or what I'm doing either.  Ever read the book I Just Want to Pee Alone?  (I highly recommend it!)

The emotional intimacy we share includes seeing the mirror image of myself in them with all of my blemishes magnified. How can I deny my oldest a temper that she comes by honestly, or the preschooler her stubbornness, or the baby her clinginess?  It's amazingly gratifying and exhausting at the same time, to be connected so intimately with other human beings who drive me mad for exhibiting the exact same traits I carry inside daily.

Can I get an "amen"?

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