First a quick shout out to Julianna, who has a delightful habit of remembering my age, and reminding me thoughtfully at random times. Because honestly, I’d probably forget. I’m somewhere in my mid-forties.
Actually, I’m exactly in my mid-forties.
I find myself looking back over the past year, and thinking that it’s still so impacted by the accident. The ramifications last so long with an event like that. It’s been two years this March, and that seems odd to me. It still feels so recent.
I’ve changed since the accident. I parent very differently now. I’m hyper-responsive to Sam’s moods, especially when we’re out in public. Even though he’s doing so much better, even though he doesn’t actually need to have me being right there, as the scaffolding for him. It’s still second nature to me. Monitoring the mood between all three of them, is Jessie being snarky? Can I let that go, or is it going to spiral into Sam getting upset, which is going to morph into impacting Julianna. Is Julie getting upset about some unseen conflict, and will she burst into tears at the slightest provocation, which will in turn impact Sam in a way that he won’t be able to handle?
I’m writing this post after going out to dinner with all three of them, at a crowded new restaurant with a ton of people, spending the two hours praying that it all held together and nobody fell apart.
Nobody did. Well, Julie did a little, but it was minor and not really unprovoked.
At 44, this is still very much my world. Especially now, when I’m home full time and my world revolves around getting the girls up and dressed and packed and to school, and then homeschooling Sam, and then launching into the pick up, fed, jammied and into bed. Ten years from now, it’ll be a very different world. Five years from now, they’ll be 19, 16 and 12. But for now, my job is finding the narrow path between overparenting and benign neglect.
I like where I am. It feels right, this place, with these kids and this husband. It feels like I’m getting to the place I dreamed of those nights in the hospital. Where everyone is healthy, and whole, and growing up. Where there’s no significant goal on the horizon, just more of the same.
And so I’ll greet my 44th birthday tomorrow happily, because this, right now, is exactly what I always wanted.