Saturday, June 5, 2010

Teens, Tweens and Toddlers Part 1

I was once her.  That young mom with a whole load of toddlers racing to play group while worrying about my gym class and whether or not we would be meeting friends for lunch.  I was 23 when Tanner was born, and 25 when we adopted Greg and Eric.  I look back and wonder how - WHY - did a social worker ever trust us to adopt a sibling group?  But alas, they did and there I was the very young mom of three very young boys. 

Then I was 27 when Caden was born.  A pretty average age to be becoming a mom in the grand scheme of things although the few times the hospital referenced me as being of "advanced maternal age" I wanted to drop kick someone.  It wasn't until I realized I would be sharing my hospital recovery room with 3 other mothers, not one over the age of 17, that I saw my age in a somewhat different light.  Apparently I was mature. Experienced.  Capable.   I was placed in the roll of "mentoring mother" by the hospital during my week of c-section recovery.   Our first act, gently correctly a young father who was trying to buckle his newborn into the car seat upside down. 

I felt like a pro at the whole mothering business.  And pretty much any mother out there that can juggle four pre-school age boys should be given a medal, that I do not dispute, but oh I was PROUD.   We were YOUNG parents.  We were doing things the right way.  Our kids would be gone by our early forties and we would be spending our adult years travelling the world.  Our mantra?  "We might be OLD now but we are going to be YOUNG at 45!" 

I am ashamed to admit that when I, at 28, stood in line next to a 45 year old mother as we waited to pick up our First Graders I actually had the secret thought that quite possibly I would rather be shot than be 45 and have a child in elementary school.  You do realize what comes right after pride right? It will be here that the older, wiser me mentions the naivety of youth and begs your forgiveness.   

If you are reading this you know the end, or at least the middle, of this story.  (by the way this sentence will terrify my husband who now believes that kids just will keep appearing on our doorstep forever  and ever)

I am 34 and 35 years older than the girls.  I suppose, by no means an ancient mother, but certainly not a "young mom" anymore either.  I am older and slightly less perky version of the mother I once was.  I am also calmer and wiser and infinitely more aware of how quickly this phase of life passes. 

I attend those same play groups I attended a dozen years before with the boys.  I am surrounded now by young moms obsessing over the dates of kindergarten registration and what type of diaper works better.  I participate in the conversations but I walk home knowing that what I was so worried about when they were two means nothing at fifteen.  I like that knowing, but it terrifies me far more than it used to that one day, inevitably, my two year old will also be fifteen.

Fifteen is so infinitely harder than two. 

Today I talked drugs and death with my teens, snuggled my tween and tried to prevent my two year old from flushing my dish cloth down the toilet.  Guess which phase is easier?

6 comments:

Jo said...

Hey Jen, I have been following your blog for a few years and we have emailed once before. My husband and I adopted a little girl three years ago, and last year we gave birth to our first bio, this winter will arrive our second bio... here is my question: can you talk about adopting children OLDER than the kids you already have? I really would like to adopt a sib set (totally inspired by your story to adopt AA boys) but I have been told that it is not advisable to adopt kids older than the kids already in the family. Thoughts? Thanks. I really appreciate your input.
Jo (mrsjoisley@yahoo.com)

Jensboys said...

Jo I would be happy to ... but honestly my point of view has changed and although I did do it myself, I wouldn't necessarily suggest doing it to anyone else.

Di said...

Oh, Give me the go lucky years of toddler hood, when the world was a fun place to explore and dandylions were transfixing, even for just a day, that would be a day to breathe. That would be good. Love the teen years, but sometimes it is hard. 2 was much more fun and easier. Hard now to put them in the playpen to keep them safe.

Di said...

Oh, Give me the go lucky years of toddler hood, when the world was a fun place to explore and dandylions were transfixing, even for just a day, that would be a day to breathe. That would be good. Love the teen years, but sometimes it is hard. 2 was much more fun and easier. Hard now to put them in the playpen to keep them safe.

HollyMarie said...

Jen, I have an egg carton picture JUST LIKE YOURS except it's with my Ellie. She went through an egg smooshing stage somewhere around age 2 for 3 months or so. LOL... time does move too quickly!

Jo, I think you have to be really careful about adopting an older child when you have a baby in the home, esp. I also did as Jen did, and though I don't regret it, I am thankful that my Ellie is who she is and that my Bereket is who she is. It could have turned out much differently, and this has still been a hard road for my OLDER child to walk, one fraught with intense jealousies and insecurities.

wvamom said...

I know what you mean about the age thing. I was 25 when our first bio child was born, and I thought, when she's 15 I'll be 40--that's ancient! I can't imagine having another child then. Fast forward 15 years and we adopted not one, but two more! I'm much more experienced but also more tired, I think!