Earlier today, my sweet friend Kathy texted me the link to this post at Rants From Mommyland on The Sweet Spot and said, "You were IN the sweet spot! Does that make it harder?"
Predictably, I had a big ol' lump in my throat by the time I finished reading that post because the sweet spot - that gorgeous, wonderful place between infancy/toddlerhood/preschool years and tween/teen/whoarethesepeople years is SUCH an incredible place to be.
Dacey is now eight and a half and AJ is just very nearly six, and my goodness. I love this age. I keep telling everyone that every age after five so far has been my very favorite. I love watching their hobbies, passions, and Myers Briggs types begin to emerge. They are readers and iPod navigators and helpers and real PEOPLE.
So back to Kathy's question and if being in the sweet spot when the babies were born has made it harder to start all over again infancy. Honestly, no. It really hasn't made it harder at all.
In fact, if anything, it's easier this time around because of the sweet spot. The girls never cease to amaze me in the lengths they will go to help me with their little brothers. Beyond finding pacis and grabbing diapers, they love to play with the boys. Can I tell you what an enormous relief it is that it's no longer The Mommy Show all day long?
But even beyond practical help, having kids in this age range is a constant source of encouragement. As many a parent has realized when parenting that just one more (or two!) baby, there is a sweetness and a patience and a grace that comes when you know it's your last rodeo.
When I kiss Dacey's cheek each night at bedtime, I close my eyes and feel the same soft roundness of baby Dacey's cheek against my lips. When I sit with AJ to draw and "do art," my mind pulls up snapshots of her in a high chair with crayons spread across the tray and bits of color in her teeth.
With each day that passes, they leave behind a little more of their tiny tyke selves, and my heart aches even as it celebrates. And looking at them and remembering the plethora of parenting choices that throbbed with weight and urgency at the time and knowing that hey, everything turned out okay ... It's empowering. And freeing. And inspiring.
It would be easy, in the midst of these round-the-clock mothering days, to wonder what on earth I was thinking, to crossly resent the interruption of the sweetest season of parenting. But mostly I don't let my mind wander there. Far sweeter it is to slow and savor and surround myself in the glories of these baby days, knowing that the coming storms of toddlerhood will eventually give way to the playful, sunny days of the spot we are so loving right now.