I may be in the minority here, but I have always wanted lots of kids. It’s just always what I planned and how I envisioned my life. Well, as we all know, life is what happens when you are busy making plans, and it just didn’t work out. I have been blessed with two wonderful boys, 18 months apart. As I watch them grow up, I look through old pictures thinking…”how were they ever that small?”…”where did the time go?”…”things were so much simpler when they were little”. (Those of you with little ones – yes – this is the easy part). I find myself longing so much for the little ones they once were and mourning the passing of that time, that I forget to see the joy in what’s in front of me.
We here in the Philadelphia area, like so many others, have been bombarded with a nasty snowy winter. One afternoon, my boys decided to head out to play in the snow. They got dressed and made their way outside. Suddenly it hit me like a ton of bricks – like a big bucket of gratitude. You know what I had to do? Zip….one…coat. Really? That’s it? No wrestling around on the floor trying to pry boots onto little feet? No shoving tiny legs and feet into coats and snow pants? No crying, carrying on, sweating, or even complaining. I was in that moment struck by how absolutely wonderful it is to have a 10 year old and a 12 year old. My heart filled with such joy and contentment that for the first time in a long time, I began counting all my blessings rather than feeling sorry for myself that I no longer have little ones running around the house. This led me to come up with 10 reasons why 12 is better than 2:
10. They go to bed on their own. Now, of course I try to shuffle everyone into bed, still tuck them in, make sure teeth have been brushed, and read with them when I can. But, on that night when I’ve finally made it to the couch and feel like I have been run over by a truck, I can say “boys, head to bed”. And they do. (with only a tiny bit of whining) It’s like magic. The bedroom doors close, the lights go out. Really.
9. They can get up in the morning on their own. Trust me. There will come a time in your life where you can sleep in again. It might not be every weekend, it might not be often, but it will happen.
8. They can make themselves breakfast. Now, with that said, do not think for a second that anything will be cleaned up or put away after that. Not to mention that they will be so loud in completing this task that #9 will surely be interrupted. You will come down to the kitchen thinking that you have been invaded by a colony of “elves on the shelf” – it will be a disaster, but so worth it.
7. Drop off birthday parties. You no longer have to endure one more kids birthday party at Chuck E Cheese, Little Gym, or the local bounce place. It’s a beautiful thing. You no longer have to stand along the wall of bored parents, some you know, but most you don’t. You don’t have to try to make small talk and chit chat while simultaneously praying that your kid doesn’t feel compelled to start a cage match with anyone else’s kid.
6. You can stop listening to The Wiggles in the car. I can actually handle all the taxi driving I do with my boys now that I can listen to my own music in the car – really loudly.
5. You can make a run to the grocery store – alone. There was nothing more challenging for me than to take both boys grocery shopping when they were little. Those giant shopping carts with the play cars attached are monstrous. It’s like moving your living room couch around the grocery store. Even better, was that each boy would hang out of the sides of the play cars wiping their hands along the floor of the grocery store and start crying when the other one was taking up too much room – awesome.
4. They take their own showers. No more bruised knees and lower back spasms from leaning over the side of the tub trying to get them washed while you try to keep yourself from looking as if you’d just ridden the log flume at Hershey Park.
3. You and the dustpan and broom are no longer BFFs. It’s true. Not to say I never have to use it to clean up after they (or a group of friends) have eaten in the kitchen, but I don’t have to sweep up anymore after every…single…meal.
2. They become live in help. If you train them and teach them correctly, before you know it, you have your own personal assistants. At any given moment, they are ready and (sometimes) willing to shovel the driveway, carry in the groceries from the car, feed the dog, and take out the trash. Plus, I am hoping they will make their significant other very happy one day.
1. Snow days are so much fun! They can go sledding on their own, get themselves dressed and undressed, and walk home if they are tired or cold. The best part is, I get to stay warm in the house waiting with a boatload of gratitude and lots of hot chocolate.