I went to the 40th birthday party of a good friend last Saturday. I had so much fun! She is the single mom of a very delightful fourth grader. I always enjoy these two because they obviously have so much fun together.
There were two conversations I particularly enjoyed. One was with a single mom of two active boys and the other was with a step-mom who is writing a book about her experiences navigating the very tricky waters of negotiating child care issues with the ex and her new spouse. I was delighted by the skill and wisdom of both these courageous women.
I had a great conversation yesterday with my wonderful DIL (Ben's wife) about the shock of having a 3 year old. ("Even if you say Puleeeze, no still means no.") She mentioned how much she loves Ben because he gives his time so generously and patiently to their three challenging kids. I remember the struggle of raising Ben. He was never aware that he had changed in any way. In his opinion, he was always exactly the same person he had always been, but annoyed by my failure to "get" him. Meanwhile, I had to scramble to adjust at least annually to this completely new person living in my house with new requirements and challenges for his faint but following mom.
My brother Bil and his wife also have three kids. The last time I visited, I was amazed at the skill with which she juggles, every day, the very different interests and needs of these three individuals. When I talk to Bil, he talks about the stage of development and the needs of each kid in a careful, thoughtful way that shows he is aware of how fast they change and how carefully a good Dad has to pay attention.
I stay home all the time with my adorable Peter Pan who never changes, never grows up and has such a fragile hold on life. We know way too much about medicines and hospitals. We also know all the toys at Target and Toys R Us from infant to about 3 years old because in the last 29 years, we have purchased ALL of them. Some of them twice. Whenever I manage to get out I get such lovely compliments, "You are amazing. I don't know how you do it." Well, right back at you, folks.
I know that every one of these superheros has bad days and days when they doubt their ability to cope with the challenges life has presented them. But they are doing absolutely amazing jobs juggling careers, relationships and the ever changing challenges of child-rearing. I don't know how they do it. I really don't. They are each so incredible.
So hats off to Sue and Emily; to Sara and her family; to the brilliant woman whose name I forgot with the two boys; to Ben, Cher, Tasha, Tahreq and Zora; to Bil, Lisa, Jack, Faith and Will and to everyone else out there who cares about raising children to be responsible adults.
Actually, I do know how we do it. We get out of bed every morning and try again because we love them. Great job!