As my children take another step toward independence, I breathe a sigh of relief. I look back at pictures from just a year ago, and they each were noticeably chubbier, indelibly cute in their baby-like appearances, yet I can’t help but admit that I’d easily trade the cuteness for less craziness every day. I’d trade washing diapers for princess panties in a heartbeat, and I’d trade drawer and cabinet child-proof locks (which only seem to attract children) for the peace of mind that my new make-up will remain in its case or on my face.
But there are some things that I just can’t let go that easily….
His laugh. His most perfect laugh that starts in his belly and tickles him all the way up until he makes a sound of pure delight. I’ve never heard such a joyous noise, a sound that produces a smile on my own lips every time I hear it.
And their carefree spirits. Spirits that have them abandon their clothes before I have time to realize they’ve been summoned by the sprinkler watering the garden. Spirits that allow them to run through freezing water, screaming and laughing, compelling even me to run through a time or two fully-clothed.
And as I watch their play, I’m beginning to learn. I see my little girl, my child who wants to be in control, my child who causes me to pull out my hair every time she cuts her own, and I see that this spirit who compels her to cut hair and draw on walls and paint on carpet is the same spirit that allows her to run through fountains for hours without care for the coldness of water. A spirit that allows her to leap with abandon as screams and a never-ending smile come to her lips and water soaks her small body. A spirit that allows her to embrace life fully.
And, oh, how I hope she never trades that quality for anything.
I won’t miss tantrums and disobedience and time-outs and the knot in my stomach as the four of us venture out alone in public. But I know as they grow life will change; these times of craziness will become few and far between. But his laugh. Her spirit. Oh, how I pray I’ll never have to miss them.
What characteristics of your loved ones are the most charming? Have you ever had a moment of clarity when you realized the quality of your child or spouse that drives you crazy is the same one that makes him wonderful?