by Wendy Strgar April 25, 2010
Spending the weekend with babies taught me a lot about the work of loving that I had lost sight of in all these years immersed in teenagers. The majority of the work of raising children occurs in small bites of seemingly endless time. It had been years since I was up at the crack of dawn with little kids whose engines are on go from the moment they open their eyes. I had forgotten how the daily napping schedule is sacrosanct and all the tricks I used to use to get my kids to eat real food. I had forgotten how small the world becomes when you hang out with toddlers.
It occurred to me as I was watching and helping my former nanny go through the same rituals with her own babies that she had done countless times with mine, how brief the time of childhood is. I didn’t tell her how soon it would be before she won’t even remember this phase of life. Naptime will recede from view as though it were a dream. As I watched her and listened to her purposeful adherence to all the details that make this life work, I was reminiscing over the thousands of hours that I spent in the same labor of love.
But what really struck me in this retrospection was the recognition of how little my children remember of their own childhoods. My youngest daughter said: “I can see what a good mother you must have been when we were babies, the way you were playing with Dane yesterday.” All those endless hours of play mobile action on the floor, the carrying and rocking, singing and catching someone before they hit the dirt- those are my memories, not theirs.
I pass on my stories of my children’s earliest years to them like folklore, describing who they were then as some key into who they have become. It is easy to for me to believe as their mother that I knew them better than they knew themselves. This is a difficult one to shake, and I often wonder now as my kids fulfill their individuation whether my memories of whom they were inform or cloud my view of who they have become. Probably both.
What I realized most of all, is that all those hours of love and care, frustration and impatience come together to imprint in children deeply about the essentials: about being loved, feeling worthy of love, being heard and finding their voice. Maybe it was just yesterday, that my youngest daughter realized how well loved she was eleven years ago. It is a mystery, the details that come together inside us to tell us who we are.
by Wendy Strgar May 17, 2018
It becomes hard to trust your own thinking when nothing seems to be working. The space between how I thought it would go and how it is going seems to widen in front of my eyes. Maybe most difficult of all is how often the undesirable outcomes around us spill over into our relationships, both at home and at work. An errant comment too easily turns into an argument. I become blind to my impact on people around me, caught up in the unresolved problems surrounding me. During times like these, we often underestimate the power of the choices we make and how it can create a path back towards what’s working or down the slippery slope of self-destruction, which my husband affectionately calls “flirting with the gutter.”
Here is my short list to making it better when it isn’t working at all. Each one helps you do the next one, so start at the beginning and work your way down.
by Wendy Strgar May 03, 2018
by Wendy Strgar April 26, 2018