O: Mom, I'm discomfortable. I'm too too hot. 

K: Take off your jacket.

O: But then I'll be cold like a popsicle.

When it comes to ambient temperature, O has about a three degree window of comfort. She is hungry constantly, except when she's not, and then she will pick delicately at whatever is placed in front of her. She is often hungry for only one particular food group, usually carbohydrates, namely bread. 

O: But Mommy, I'm not apple hungry. I'm bread hungry.

K: Aren't we all, kiddo. Aren't we all?

Hard work and a sandy tushy are rarely comfortable, but so worth it. 

Hard work and a sandy tushy are rarely comfortable, but so worth it. 

I feel responsible to provide for my children's basic needs: food, shelter, clothing, and so on. I even feel responsible to provide them with an engaging and enriching life: swim lessons, education, vacations, trips to museums. As O gets older and more self-sufficient, however, I feel less and less responsible for her overall comfort. Even as I'm typing this I realize how harsh that might sound. I really don't care much about her comfort. 

I want her to have agency and understand consequences. I want her to make the choice to not carry her jacket and then deal with the natural consequence that extends from that choice.  

But even beyond that, I don't want her to always be comfortable. Most of the big, wonderful things in life are uncomfortable at some point. Learning something new, putting yourself out there for a new relationship, getting your PhD, mastering a skill, swimming in the big pool, these things are not comfortable. They require someone with the resilience to move through discomfort, to see the big picture, to chase the dream.

Unfortunately, what that looks like right now is my dragging a hungry, inappropriately dressed preschooler through the world, while she wails that her bag is too heavy and her shoes hurt her feet, while I stride forward, deaf to her cries and blind to the judgmental stares from anyone in earshot. Mostly. 

Mother of the year.

A Day of Yes

No.  It's a word you say often as a parent.  It is unavoidable.  You can't escape it.  

But this week, we had a day of yes. O and I decided to drive up from a local family vacation so she could attend her last swim lesson, and since it was just the two of us, everything suddenly felt rarified and special. 

O: Can we roll down the windows and listen to rock and roll?

K: Yes.

O: Can we swim in the deep pool before my lesson?

K: Yes.

O: Can we have chocolate chocolate chip pancakes with a whip cream face for dinner?

K: Yes.

O: Can we go snuggle on the blanket on the lawn and look at the stars?

K: Yes.

O: Can I stay up aaaaaaaallllllll night?

K: Yes.

She made it until 9:30, and as I carried her to bed, she almost looked like my baby again, but only for a second. 

Yes to rock and roll. Yes to a swim in the cool deep water. Yes to the stars. Parenting is hard, but too often I set myself up for failure. I forget that it's ok to enjoy it, that an extra half hour of stars and snuggling is worth more than a clean kitchen. 

I'm going to remember to take the joy that my children are offering me, to say yes as often as I can.

(Insert Sound of Price is Right Sad Horns Here)

O: Mama, sometimes I have to try real hard to love you, but not daddy.  Loving daddy is easy.  

K: Truth.  You speak truth, and you and I are in the same boat on that one.  

I'm exhausted.   I'm not capable of writing anything new today.  Please accept this ridiculously adorable photo of P with a Mickey Mouse bandaid on her head as my apology and peace offering.  

And to anyone else out there who finds they are hard to love, keep trying, and if you figure it out, let me or O know.