Friday, June 10, 2011

Pearls of Great Price Make You Want to Sell Everything

In honor of my sister about to have her second child.

Congratulations.  People say going from two to three is like switching from man to man to zone defense.  But it really happens with just two, since most of the time, the kids will outnumber you.  It's just when you get to three, they always outnumber you.  

But any mother of any number knows, it's never the number that creates the chaos, it's the kids themselves. 

This week we celebrated our oldest graduating from high school.  We gave him a beautiful watch that his father had received at his high school graduation.  My husband had treasured that gift from his folks; it was a prized posession.  There was a story to link Father to son in the watch besides the event itself.  At 15 months, our dear first born was into everything.  We lived in an apartment, one would think I could manage it but I was as lousy a housekeeper as a mother of one as I am of ten, it's just now I have a reasonable excuse.   Our son liked carrying things around and putting them in places one would not expect.  He found the watch. The watch then was lost for many months.  I even replaced the watch for our anniversary, giving it from William and myself.  

Then we made the decision to move to Maryland.  I started packing up some of those nice things one still has when one is only four years married; a puter pitcher.  It rattled as I wrapped it in paper. I looked inside.  There was the watch; stored for safe keeping.  The moral of the story? Even one can create total chaos if given the slightest opportunity.   Absent the context of being in love, losing a watch, a piece that held great memories and sentimental value would be crushing; but because of love, the scribbled walls, the stickers on furniture and the lost or damaged property over the years seem like a cheap bargain, part of the cost for the ride.

It's why those calculations that make every child a quarter of a million dollar investment ring so false. The number isn't the reality; but you can't know that going forward because you haven't yet fallen in love. The growing of our hearts by children takes time, it starts with those first nine months.  

I count the kisses I get far more than the dollars.  The dollars fly out on a daily basis; tacos as a birthday snack, money for acquiring the summer reading list, prescriptions for one, a fresh outfit for another for Honor's breakfast, Size 5 diapers, and felt for a sugar glider puppet, and that's just from today's list of "Hey Mom, I need." So personally, the 250k is a bit low; the better answer to what children cost is "What ya got?"  because that's what you'll be willing to spend and more.

The allness of the surrender that parenting involves is something that demands we face and battle our every flaw and fear if we are to do this to the extent of our abilities with as much grace and love and humor as we are capable. Even then, we must be secure in the absolute knowledge, we're going to screw up.  Don't worry, they'll tell you how when they hit adolescence.  And still, we will love that prickly child that doesn't want to be seen with us hoping that today, they will make the turn back towards their family even as we know, part of this walking away/pushing away is necessary. 

The measure of our screwing up will be tempered by our willingness to love, love and love more.   I screw up daily.  The odds are with ten, I screw up daily on more than one.  Hopefully, the love measures out and weighs more. Being a parent is like being the Trombone in the orchestra. No one says, "Hey, I'd like a solo Trombone." but it's there giving depth and strength and tone to the sounds; it's there, strong, consistent and ubiquitous. It's there and if it's done right, no one notices anything but the complete package of the music itself. The children are the finished symphony; Mom and Dad, the fretful players knowing that practice pays off; hoping the end song is as beautiful as Divinely imagined.

 So good luck and prayers for our new nephew or niece; and for his/her sister, and for both of you.  Keep playing, keep practicing; it's a great thing you are doing even when it doesn't feel like you're doing anything much.     We love you.

Oh.  One last bit of seasoned advice; resign yourself to the reality, it will take ten minutes more to get into the car.


Zilla said...

What a beautiful loving post! i loved reading this, Sherry, I linked to it here:

Sherry said...

Thanks Zilla! That means a lot!

Sherry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MightyMom said...

10 min more to get to the car??

oh woman! you're underestimating!!!

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