I helped ivy wash her hair. The tin in the house is smaller than it was at the apartment. They could fit together in it still, when we moved in 2021. Now they can’t. They Barely fit alone.
I drained the water and then it was Jackie turn. She called me to help her rinse her hair. The last few years the bathroom routine drained me completely. I’m tired of gagging faces when I brush their teeth, the way they bite the toothbrush to be silly, the spit in the sink, the washing of faces, if they do it they only wet their fingertips and wash the corner of their mouths.
The bath drained me silly within the first half a year of adopting Jackie. She screamed bloody murder every time. She has some sensory issues, she didn’t like to be naked, vulnerable like that… until we fingered it out and helped her process it with logic.
But. As I helped Jackie rinse her hair, at age 9, she can barely fit in the tub. And realized she is growing up fast and soon, very soon, she won’t need me anymore. But at this point her innocence and her willingness to have me help… it’s a blessing. And Joy. I see it only in comparison. Ivy is so much smaller. But she is growing fast because she has an older sister.
I know we are blessed. Beyond measure. We are utterly exhausted and partly is our own doing. We could take time to reset, to refresh and be present, and not be parent martyrs. Resentful, ragged. We are in dur the long haul. We became parents for the adult years too. Meanwhile, learning to hold on and to let go. To teach them about self care by putting it in practice now. The cute years are passing, but the adventurous, wise, strong years are upon us.
As I take unpopular stands, I defend and protect, I set boundaries, and Jackie pushes back, but then she says she loves it when I nag her or I remind her to do things, even if she complains, when I tell her no, because she wouldn’t have the strength yet to say no to the bad ideas. So you see, parenting does not come with the seal of approval from kids. They only appreciate you in hindsight. Hold the course. Do the time. Wash their hair, brush their teeth, cry your tears and hold them close. This is it. The whole gift. Not waiting for the future. Time is fleeting anyway.