This Too Shall Pass (and then you’ll miss it)

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I’m sipping a pumpkin spice latte, watching the Midwest drift away out the window on the first leg of our flights home to India. Our near-four-year-old is happy playing his leap pad and our one-year-old is watching the kindle fire. I’d say it was a pretty momentous Christmas when the kids each ended up with their own device for travel! After sitting here peacefully with my latte for a minute, I disconcertedly look  around for something to do. Of course I didn’t bring a journal or book or computer or magazine, because I NEVER have a chance to glance at them when traveling with two babies!…

And just like that, I realize that life has changed.  Overnight I became a mommy to toddlers!

We checked in with no drama, we walked calmly through security (besides the part with the toddler screaming in my ear for her sippy which the security man was taking his time to examine, from the ergo on my back), we then sat ourselves down for a latte, and then we calmly boarded the plane.  Really!! And here I sit in shock, the mom with momentarily content, independent children.

Now, I realize that with my kids two-and-a-half years apart, I should have had one baby and one toddler– they should be at different stages. But in general I find that on travel days my son lowers his maturity level to the stage of his younger sister, so he was never going to “grow up” until she did. I’m not sure if it’s a birth order thing or a personality thing, but I have a one-year-old who can get her own shoes on and walk up our mountain path by herself but my four year old still thinks he can’t do either and desperately needs my help. Regardless of why, when my little one decided she could sit contentedly on a plane, so did her big brother.

So here we are. I should be thrilled. But I’m just stunned. It’s the first time I’ve moved from one life/parent stage to another and been present enough to experience it.

To watch it happen before my eyes.

To wistfully say goodbye to one stage, and celebrate the arrival of another. The greatest loss from my season of young-mom-related depression and anxiety was the inability to be fully present with my babies.  To accept the chaos, noise, and unproductivity of it all.

As I have gotten healthier I’m starting to see the fruit of this growth. Living in the moment, laughing and playing with my kids, less snappy, agitated moments, and just a little more acceptance of the chaos.

It seems that my abhorrence to noise will never go away. But at least I don’t have to resent my kids for making the noise. And I can calmly teach them that “I’m right here, you don’t have to talk so loud!” And sometimes that really helps. 😉

I’m finishing this post at the tail-end of 24 hours of flying. Our big airplane is floating into India’s airspace and I sip a surprisingly tasty cup of airplane coffee. I didn’t catch another peaceful moment between the first flight and this, but at least I’m getting back to it!

And I’m reaping the benefits of the getting healthy–the lessons we have learned in parenting as a family with little ones, with travel and transition, and as a family living in Asia. I intend to write several posts on these lessons we’re learning, in case anyone with babies (both big and little) is willing to read along.

But for now I’ll sit back, enjoy the quiet, and get ready to chase my little World Changer around the plane when she gets antsy.

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