My daughter. Beautiful. From the moment she was born. Truly. Those pursed lips. That thick dark hair. Those brown, nigh black, hypnotizing eyes. The olive skin. One adorable dimple. A more beautiful baby you never saw. And. Today. More beautiful than ever.
My son. Well, if we are being honest. He was such a skinny baby. 5 lbs. 12 ounces. 21 1/2 inches long. Picture in your head a chicken being prepped for dinner. Sounds mean. I know. But remember, we are being honest here. Now? Now he is 6' 1" and growing. Eyes that if used properly (for good, never evil) could captivate and manipulate even the strongest will. A smile that warms. Hair, that while longer than I prefer, but apparently necessary for the "musician" status, full and gorgeous. Handsome.
Yes, boisterous as it may sound, I have to say, the combination of Prince Charming and I resulted in some good looking babies ;)
But that was the easy
You can plan, scheme and child-rearing-book away. But Life happens. Plans are changed. Schemes fall through and books? Well books can give you ideas, guidelines, suggestions, but no two children. Even from the same family. Are alike. No. The only way you can successfully parent. In my opinion. Is from the heart. Deep within your heart.
In many ways my children were spoiled. The only grandchildren (or neice/nephew for that matter) on both sides for years. How could they not be? Summers were spent in an affluent beach community because their grandparents had the foresight to purchase a home there before its popularity sent the prices skyrocketing. Fortunately, their father is successful enough that I, their mother, was able to stay at home during their childhood, enabling them to accept every party invitation, have oodles of play dates and, if necessary, be picked up from school, heaven forbid they had the sniffles.
Chores? Yes, there were age appropriate chores. Always. Granted the dusting had to be redone, the beds remade and the weeds, well pulled, but they were learning and that's what was important. We made charts around the holidays with stars and black marks representing good and bad behavior, kind of like a report card for Santa. We even had our own elf, "Noel", who would call occasionally and speak to the children encouraging good behavior. Funny, his voice sounded oddly similar to Prince Charming's, only a little more nasal. ;) Rewards were given often, punishments admittedly less often. The rewards were big, the punishments little.
Despite the result of a sloppy looking Christmas Tree, the smell of a forgotten hidden Easter Egg, the wrinkled wrapping on a present or the slightly over-salted gravy for a birthday dinner, our children were always invited and encouraged to participate in the traditions of our families. Their history. We have started many new traditions ourselves from glittery poppers filled with surprises at the dining table to a "Family Cookbook" in which we write all of the favorite recipes together with a picture of the plate to be referred to in the future. Our own little piece of history.
It certainly wasn't all sunshine and rainbows. There were the nights when they didn't sleep and we thought we would lose our minds; the teething that resulted in a shrill we wished only the dog could hear; stubbed toes and bruised shins incurred while trying to navigate through the endless river of toys; gates blocking exits and entrances; braces, glasses, casts, detentions, spills and arguments. We've had more than our fair share of deaths, premature and sudden, and sickness that came as a complete shock. All of which could so easily have pulled us apart but instead brought us closer. As they get older, once again there are those nights with no sleep until we hear the key in the door followed by the creaking of the third step on the staircase, signaling their safe return, allowing us to breath and relax and sleep. We still worry. Always will. But the time has come where we have to have faith in our job as parents, their respect for us and the lessons and morals that we have instilled. And we do. Together as a family.
Together, as a family, we go on vacation, to Broadway shows, baseball games and parties.
Together, as a family, we argue, disagree, cry, laugh, plan and love.
As a family ;)