“What is the best part about being a grown-up?”
I asked my kids, Ninja Boy (four years 23 days old) and Twinkle Toes ( five years ,11 months, 13 days old) this question and an idea for a new blog came pouring in along side their honest, clear and appropriately interesting responses.
“The coolest part of being a grown-up is that you have a choice to make kids are not. I’m not going to make kids because they are too much work, especially when they are babies. I just hear too many stories from my mommy.”
“The best part is being so cool! I’m the coolest guy I know, you know, but I’m not talking about me right now.”
Choosing to “make kids” is monumental. My husband and I were less than one year removed from college when we met, fell in love and married (less than 8 months from blind meeting to the wedding march, but that is a story for another time). Trying for children followed immediately. I wouldn’t so much call the decision to have children the “coolest” thing about being a grown-up, opting to call it the most terrifying part instead -at least in the beginning. I can still remember in vivid detail every pothole, yellow light, swift turn and uncomfortable bump during the agonizing 1.2 mile drive taking our daughter home from the hospital for the first time. Holding Twinkle Toes in my arms, finding that my lips fit perfectly in the curve of her nose, and letting out a big sigh, I realized five minutes into our new lives together that I had no idea what we were getting into, but I also knew that the decision she would be my daughter was made in the stars, sanctified by the universe and completely out of my hands long before I met her.
Our son Ninja Boy’s response is a complete tell for the kind of parents we are, and the way we speak to our children. A few months ago our son ran up to me while on a play date. He looked at me with a perfectly horrified expression, pleading to go to another room and speak in private. Fearing the worst, bullies or private parts or playing Doctor-something like that, I took him into another room, lowered myself to my knees and looked him in the eyes, asking him what was the matter. He took a deep breath and said, “Mommy, Friend’s mommy just told him he was the best, she must not know that that is me. Should we tell her?” I kept a straight face, and replied, “Every single person in this entire universe gets to decide what is perfect. You and your sister, you are my perfect kids. In fact, I love you so much that the universe couldn’t hold it all in and my love started poking holes in the atmosphere, that’s why we have so many stars at night you know? Now go play.” Whenever I want to remind my kids that they are amazing I tell them about the universe. They both roll their eyes, but I do it anyway because I think they might secretly like to hear me make up tall tales.
Choosing to have kids might not be the coolest part of being a grown-up, but being parents to Twinkle Toes in Ninja Boy? Now that is the coolest part of my grown-up life.
We are a family of four living in Michigan. My husband and I fell head over feet in love over mango margaritas and a fantastic production of Of Mice and Men at the Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago. He walked me home from a 24 hour diner at 4 AM and I already knew our destiny was entwined together. a few months later we did the only reasonable thing and got hitched. Two years after that we welcomed Twinkle Toes into this world, and we finished building our family two years later when Ninja Boy joined our crew. My husband needs an alias for the blog but he doesn’t want me to use Kirk, as in Kirk Cameron, even though his resemblance to the curly-haired eighties heartthrob is why I found him so attractive on our first date. I might just call him Not-Kirk, but we’ll see how that goes over. Not-Kirk and I are both 31; we wed at age 23.
I’ve had public blogs in the past, places that kept me company through illness, sadness, confusion and everything else . This time the blog will be about us, but focus on how the knowledge of children, their candor and their grace, can transform the big questions of life into simple thoughts about joy, love, and sometimes bodily functions- they are four and five years old after all.
I asked Not-Kirk to layout the ground rules of sharing our family on the Internet (this time before I started) and here is what we decided:
1. no naming his company by its proper name
2. I can speak about his health issues, but only with respect for the privacy required with this sort of illness
3. We have to use fake names for the kids and for now are not going to put up any pictures
4. I can joke about Kirk Cameron but as a secular humanist, Unitarian, far left liberal he really doesn’t want to use that name as an alias
Every night I sing a song by Jen Chapin to our children- the refrain goes, ” I’ve been thinking about this fascinating world, of authenticity and the one thing you should know- its find your joy and let it show.” my joy is writing , it always has been. Combining the love for my family, my amazement at my children and my love of words I hope I can take this blog and not forget it exists in two months- I guess I have to keep my fingers crossed on that one.