Parenting Sucks

I didn’t think it would ever happen to me. Having the bonus child 4 years ago saved me from the empty nest. My older children were 17 and 14 years old when the bonus child was born. I always thought, I’ll never have any empty nest because by the time they all leave I’ll be busy with the little one and when he leaves I’ll have grand-babies to fuss over.

Then it happened.

Last night, it was so cold in Chicago. Too cold to go Trick or Treating. Too cold for trick or treaters to ring the bell. The bonus child dressed up in his Captain America costume ready for the trick or treaters that never came. When the door bell did ring it was the pizza being delivered.

And it hit me. As we sat at the kitchen table eating pizza.They were gone. The children I’d spent 21 years celebrating Halloween with were gone. I began to cry into my pizza. They were out with the significant others (a story for another post) and I was home missing them like crazy. Aching to hear them laugh, tell me about their day, listen to them talk to each other, listen to them argue over who got the most candy, talk about all the crazy costumes we saw. But silence filled the room. My face streamed with tears.

The bonus child was concerned and interrupted my silence, “what’s wrong mommy?”

“I’m missing your sister and brother,” I replied.

“Don’t worry, mommy. Meme is dressed like Starfire. And AJ is dressed like Batman. Papito is with Tori. They’ll be home later,” he said laughing at me.

The voice of reason from a 4 year old. Still my pizza filled with my tears.

I was not prepared for this…it’s like a break up. You spend years building a strong relationship…loving, crying, celebrating, arguing, growing together…then they just move on with their lives. You have to watch and be happy. I know this will pass and I will be too busy to get lost in the silence. But I also know that there will be more growing up to do…I just hope I can grow up without them.

Step on the Flowers

dandelion-1
Image courtesy of thaowurr.deviantart.com

One of the greatest difficulties of being a teen mom are some of the missed opportunities because you are trying to grow up and raise a child at the same time, it’s often difficult to stop and smell the flowers. But there are moments that you know matter, not only to you but to your child.

I had my first child at 18, my second child at 21 and my third child at 35. When my older children were younger, they loved picking the dandelions. They would bring them into the kitchen and I would stick them in a glass until they wilted, which was usually very quick. I always made a big deal about their humble gift to me, it mattered to them so it mattered to me.

A few days ago, my third child aka the bonus child noticed the dandelions as we were walking to the car.

He stopped mid-step and asked, “can I step on the flowers?”

“Yes, you can step on the flowers,” I replied.

He gingerly stepped on the dandelions, watching them crush under his captain america light up shoes. He giggled.

The next day, as we passed the same patch of dandelions, he stopped and stared.

Bending down to study the weeds he asked, “can I pick them for you?”

The memories of the bouquet of weeds I received 17 and 14 years ago flashed in my mind. My heart remembered of all those moments that mattered to my older children and how important it is to pay attention even to the weeds.

I pause more and try to see the world through the eyes of my bonus child. I know one day, he will bring in his bouquet of weeds and I will receive them as if they were prize roses, just as I did when his sister and brother brought them. The gesture of a child is so pure, if only we stop to step on the flowers.