To remember every moment that my children have either embarrassed me, made me laugh, or driven me crazy, is a task that I’m sure I could not fit into one book. There are so many lessons we learn on a daily basis just by living with these tiny balls of energy, sarcasm, and fun. Just a few examples are…never give one child more of anything than the other; never put juice in a cup with no lid; never underestimate their ability to stuff themselves into small places; never turn your head when they are mad, or else you may get a stuffed animal wiffed at you; and most importantly, never forget that even the worst day can be fixed by a look and a hug.
I do love to tell my three-year-old tales, but I also realize that theirs are only half the story. The parents of each of these little monstrous angels are the other half, and I admire all who have made it through the year of the three and beyond with any sanity. This post is for you, because even if it doesn’t feel like it at times, you are admired, and below are only a few of the reasons why.
I admire every parent who…
…while checking out at the store, has had to chase their little one through the aisles because you refused them candy, at the same time, smiling at the clerk, pretending that you are actually in control of the situation.
…has had a child stand up in a wedding, and no matter the amount of effort you put into distracting them, they are bored, full of energy, and entertain themselves by running across the front of the church as the bride and groom are saying their vows, and somehow you continue to keep your composure.
…has had toys, books, cups or whatever their children could reach, thrown at them due to a meltdown over their obsession of the day, but you continue to be patient and try to understand that they are only venting.
…has had food, milk or spit on the floor, couch, bed or backseat of the car, and continues to wash, wipe and clean, no matter how many times it happens in just one day, or even one hour.
…allows their three year old to climb into your bed after a nightmare, even though you are well aware that you will be sleeping on about six inches of mattress, eventually in pain from their little heels dug into your back, because as tiny as they are, they still require more room.
…continues to change sheets in the middle of the night without making it a big deal so as to not embarrass the already upset child in potty training.
…has watched four hours of mind-numbing cartoons because your sweet baby is lying on the couch with a fever, and has a request every couple minutes, which you fulfill.
…continues to repeat themselves while trying to teach even the simplest of lessons, when you know it goes in your child’s one ear and out the other, hoping one day it’ll stick.
…takes the time to play with, teach, love and be proud of their children. You understand that they are our future, and they learn from what we portray.
…the single parents, who at the end of a very long three-ism day, don’t have anyone to vent to, but continue to get up each morning to endure and enjoy each moment over again.
…the two parent households, who when they can’t determine the best way to handle their three year old’s behavior, continue to try together.
I admire you all. Have fun, laugh, crawl on the floor, and play cops and robbers. Don’t miss the things you can never get back, especially their childhood. As frustrating as it can be at times, try to think of that innocent smile as they look up at you, and remember they admire you, too.
I end this post even though there are a million more stories to tell, and a million more that have not happened yet, but I have to stop somewhere. I hope you take in each smile, each tear, and each defiant act, and file them away as a three-year-old, five-year-old, or even sixteen-year-old moments to keep forever in your heart. I know I will.
Each child is unique and special, each has a gift of making you laugh, making you cry, and sometimes making you want to tear out your hair. Remember each moment, even the tough ones, because no matter how hard it can get, the time will come when each storm braved becomes a rainbow worthy of it all. It may be unexpected, and catch you off guard, but it will happen.
You’ll be sitting on the couch, involved in something grown up, and you’ll hear the little feet of your three year old running full blast in your direction. You prepare yourself for full contact, as they proceed to jump up on your lap with no concept of what is landing where, and in their sweet voice, say “I love you” lay their tiny head on your shoulder, and give you the best gift in the world…a big bear hug only your little one can give.
They all have stories, so file them away or write them down. Not only are they memories, but reminders to your child one day, when their three year old has been running them ragged, and they say to you: “I don’t know what I did to deserve this.” You can hand them their stories, all along thinking, “isn’t payback grand,” laughing at them, like they laughed at you when they were three.
This is for all the parents out there that can relate to the world that is three, you are not alone, and for all of the soon-to-be parents this is only a hint of what you get to look forward to. So as I end my journey with you, I encourage you to love your children with no boundaries, listen to the lessons they teach, be patient and remember….
“Looking into the eyes of a child is looking into a mirror of our souls. They are a reflection of who we are, how we love, and what we teach;
Teach them tolerance, show them unconditional love, and believe in who you reflect. In turn, they will believe in you.”