In the grass by horizontal.integration

“Having a child can be an adventure all on its own…”

When I realized that my life experiences are simply different and wonderful in their own way, I stopped feeling inferior due to wonderful stories of travel and adventure I hear from my childless friends. Having a child when you’re a still a child can be an adventure all on its own.

Sometimes I get the feeling that people think I’ve not done anything interesting. Maybe I’ve not seen the skyscrapers of New York City, swam with dolphins in the Caribbean or even been to the Grand Canyon. Hell I’ve only been to the coast four times and I’ve never been further east than Iowa. Not that the world doesn’t interest me, it just has to wait.

Since sixteen my life has been another kind of adventure.

You want excitement? Lose a two year old at the mall the day after Thanksgiving. In another state.

You want a rush? Just see if you can reach the street before he does, when you can hear the car coming and he’s at the age that it’s fun to run from mommy. Barefoot, at a full run after him, that gravel driveway never seemed so long and so short all at once.

Heart pounding thrills? Try to decipher “a fire in the garage” from a wailing three year old (sounds a lot like “I fell off the couch”). Then try to put that fire out before it spreads beyond the garage. Try not to be too mad at him when he brings you the phone saying “Mama, there’s a lady” because he called the fire department himself. Not 911, but the fire department.

Beauty? Those big blue eyes peering over the bumper pad first thing in the morning. When the day before you swore he wouldn’t see daylight again.

You can learn to lie. When he’s in a hospital bed and looking you in the eyes for your reaction to how bad the neighbor’s dog mangled his leg. When all you want to do is puke, instead you smile and say “That’s not so bad. They’ll be able to fix that up no problem.” Make an excuse to duck out into the hallway before your lunch and the tears come out.

You can learn to act. When the dean tells you he started the largest food fight in the school’s history. All you can think is “how does he not have an ounce of food on him?” and fight back giggles because you’re the mom and that stuff is not supposed to be funny. But it is.

Sure I remember how bitter cold the ocean was the first time the waves washed over my bare feet along the coast of Oregon. I’ve watched the sun disappear into the bay in San Diego. Once I saw a tornado in Nebraska (once will always be enough on that experience). I know how loud the rain is when beating on the stalks of a cornfield and the how sulphur from a geyser smells.

I remember falling asleep amid the wild roses and peppermint in the shade of the aspen trees along the banks of Deer Creek, and having him wake me up to show me the whole stringer of trout he caught by himself. He needed help getting the hook out of his thumb.

I also remember the first time he smiled, his first steps, his first lunar eclipse (he exclaimed “Oh No! Mama the moon burned out”), when he learned to ride a bike (and learned to take a fall), when he caught his first fish, his first day of junior high and high school, the first time he was able to pick me up and I can’t count the number of times he’s made me laugh to tears.

Maybe I’m not as worldly, traveled or sophisticated as some but I’m not “missing” anything. Giving him everything he needs to be the best he can. No matter how tough it’s been, this is the path that I have taken and I wouldn’t trade one second of it for a thousand trips around the world.

By Natalie Dowell. Natalie lives in Henderson, Nevada (near Las Vegas), and does Tech Support/Service/Quality for Satellite TV.  Read her blog: I’d like to fly…
Kindly contributed to Zen Moments by the author.  (Natalie also contributed Strong Enough to Bend)

Your Baby and Child: From Birth to Age Five By Penelope Leach

Your Baby and Child: From Birth to Age Five
By Penelope Leach

“The most loved, trusted and comprehensive book in its field” 5 stars

“Penelope Leach’s Your Baby & Child is the most loved, trusted and comprehensive book in its field–with almost two million copies sold in America alone. Newsweek says that it is not only one of the best parenting books, but also “by far the most pleasurable to read.”

This new version, completely rewritten for a new generation, encompasses the latest research and thinking on child development and learning, and reflects the realities of today’s changing lifestyles and new approaches to parenting.

Penelope Leach’s authoritative and practical style will reassure, encourage, inform and inspire every parent-to-be and new parent. Your Baby & Child is the baby book that responds fully to every parent’s deepest concerns about the psychological and emotional as well as physical well-being of his or her children.

Dr. Leach describes–in easy-to-follow stages, from birth through starting school–what is happening to your child, what he or she is doing, experiencing and feeling. She tackles the questions parents often ask and the ones they dare not. Whether your concern is a new baby’s wakefulness, a toddler’s tantrums, a preschool child’s shyness, aggression or nightmares, or how to time your return to work, choose day care or tell a child about a new baby or an impending divorce, the information you need to make your own decisions is right here.” Amazon Book Review

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