Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Sweet Spot

It hit me like a ton of bricks last week. I was at the community pool, looking around to see what my kids were up to. Then I really looked at them. The big one was playing with her friends, her long arms and legs splashing. The little one was throwing herself off the diving board like a boss. The boy was in the shade, cracking jokes with his buddies. As I sat there drinking lukewarm coffee, I realized - Oh my God. 

Here I am.

Let me backtrack for a second. The day before had been rough. I’d woken up determined that it was going to be great. That I would not go to bed that night, replaying all my parenting mistakes, per usual. And I spent the entire day being a really good mom. I was engaged and understanding. I was firm but kind. I did not yell at anyone or get distracted by my phone. I was like this all day and it was freaking exhausting.


And of course it was the same day that my kids decided to turn our house into Thunderdome, fighting with each other constantly. I thought ordering a pizza for dinner would help turn it around. Then this happened:


Have you ever had a day like that? Where everything just degenerates into a huge goat rodeo? It was awful. So there I was the next morning at the pool, really looking at my kids. And even though we were still all fresh from the goat rodeo, I realized:
  • Those are my kids right there: swimming and healthy and beautiful.
  • Wait. Hold up. I’m not sitting in the too-warm baby pool, trying to pretend that it’s not disgusting. 
  • And I’m not changing diapers in the sweltering summer heat because everyone in my family can wipe their own nethers.
  • I haven’t had to tell anyone not to drink the pool water this summer.
  • I haven’t used a stroller in over a year.
  • We are all (mostly) sleeping through the night.
  • They hardly ever scream “mommy mommy mommy MOMMMYYY!!!” every two minutes anymore.
  • I can pee by myself (almost 40% of the time). 
  • They are sort of independent and (somewhat) helpful lately.
  • Yet they still need me and want me to be with them.
  • I can get hugs and kisses and snuggles whenever I want. 
  • But they can also take out the garbage.
  • They’re big, but they’re still little.
I’m in the sweet spot.

I sat there for a moment and let it sink in. I’ve been so deep in The Blur for so many years. Not sleeping, eating cold mac and cheese off of Winnie the Pooh plates. Every day determined by nap schedules, nursing, diaper changes and preschool pick up. But that has changed over the past year or so, without me even noticing. 

The Blur will do that to you, though it’s starting to soften around the edges. No. That’s a bad analogy. It’s not softening at all, in fact it’s the opposite. It’s sharpening around the edges. Things are coming into focus and I’m beginning to see clearly. 

I get it now. They were right. Everyone who said it would go by so fast. It’s happening to me. It’s whizzing by. When my three kids were very little, the days were so long and my world felt very small and sometimes very lonely. If the days were long, the nights were longer. The hour before my husband got home from work? It took three days to get through that hour. 

But there was also the smell of the top of their baby heads. And the pudgy, little kissable feet, that are now big and stinky. Their bodies that used to be part of me, are now entirely their own. They're not little anymore. That part of my life is over. And I find myself here, with three medium sized kids, in the sweet spot. I’m equal parts grateful and terrified. 

Oh God, please let this time last. Please slow it down a little bit. I didn’t even realize we were here until the moment was half over. And what’s coming next? Snapchat? Pimples, bras, curfews, pressure to make the same bad choices I did and just ... All of it. I can wait for that. Can I just stay here with them a little longer? Can you please keep them safe and beautiful and young just a little while longer?

I spent all day mulling over the sweet spot, my perspective on yesterday’s disasters flipped around. In hindsight, the pizza on the driveway was kind of funny. 

That night I had a long conversation with my kids about how they thought our summer was going. At one point, my 8 year old son started talking about something he’d learned during swim team. Something about pushing off the wall and gliding before you take the first stroke. He was waving his arms and twisting his tanned, skinny torso around the kitchen to demonstrate. Then he stopped  - still as a statue - with one arm curved high above him, his face turned and lifted upward.

Then he resumed his flapping around and said: “DID YOU SEE THAT? THAT WAS THE SWEET SPOT. WHEN YOU TURN YOURSELF AND LOOK AND BREATHE REAL DEEP. IF YOU DO THE SWEET SPOT JUST RIGHT YOU SET YOURSELF UP TO BE COMPLETELY AWESOME.” ((My son has trouble using an inside voice. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t actually have one.)) “MOMMY, WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOUR FACE? ARE YOU CRYING? YOU LOOK CONSTIPATED. HAW HAW HAW!! NO SERIOUSLY, WHAT?”

And I explained to him that I had just been thinking about the sweet spot. And how I had figured out that we were in one right now - as a family. He looked at me with pity in his eyes. It is delightful to be patronized by a third grader. He shrugged and looked at his sisters.

“You know there’s a sweet spot in baseball, too, " I said.

The boy perked up. He loves baseball. “It’s when a hitter swings, and the ball makes contact with the bat in the perfect place. Its when everything lines up just right and everything is where it’s supposed to be. And the ball flies. It just soars. It makes a noise. Do you know what I’m talking about?”

He nodded and so did the girls. They’d heard the noise before. They’d seen the ball jump off the bat and fly away. Away from the person who’d hit it perfectly.

I guess the constipated look came back to my face, but this time my kids just shook their heads and went into the other room to watch ‘Call of the Wildman’. They left me alone in the kitchen, awkwardly swallowing back tears. 

I guess it’s OK that the sweet spot is fleeting. It’s supposed to be. It has to be. As with everything else, it has a time and a purpose. I think we’re supposed to use the sweet spot to align ourselves for whatever is going to come next. To put all the pieces together as well as we can, for as long as we can. So that if we’re very lucky, our kids can glide forward and know when to turn and when to breathe and when to start to kicking. 

If raising children is like baseball or swimming, getting it right must be a cocktail of luck, faith, and showing up every day to do the work. And of course, never quitting (even when it all seems like a hopeless goat rodeo). And if you do it well, they won’t just leave you. When they go, they will soar away. And all you can hope is that you set them up TO BE COMPLETELY AWESOME.


(c)Herding Turtles 2009 - 2013

99 comments:

  1. Awwwww!!!! I totally cried and hugged my little bub a little tighter. I dont want her to grow up....

    ReplyDelete
  2. that's some great writing there

    ReplyDelete
  3. No fair. Not fair to find *this* at 1:30am trapped under a newborn with a 2yo asleep in the other room. It's raining on my face as they say. *sigh* I know I'm not supposed to wish the time away but it's nice knowing that there is (hopefully) a sweet spot coming our way someday.

    ReplyDelete
  4. How is it that your posts are EXACTLY what is going on in our lives? Lydia, are you secretly spying on me? Are you using all that information the NSA has collected? My kids are 9 and 5 and when they're not trying to kill each other, we're in the sweet spot. I remember going to a bouncy place with another mom several years ago. My daughter was 6 months old, so she stayed with her grandmother. The other mother and I had a 5 year old, two 4 year olds and a three year old. We had to play zone defense, blocking exits and doing constant head counts as the children raced from one bouncy to another. There was a mother there, sitting on a bench, knitting. I looked at the other mother through harried, weary eyes and said, "Will we ever be her?" And she looked back, equally weary (she had a 5, 4 and 3 year old) and said, "I don't think so." Guess what? I'm finally there! Now if only I could find the pause button...

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ok, the pizza, you have to admit is funny.

    I'm neck deep in the blur and yes, that's what it is, a blur. Yesterday, after my kids waited patiently for our ice cream custard to set, I put it in the ice cream machine and turned it on forgetting to put the paddle in so it became a frozen block of nothing.

    Then this morning, I put bread in the toaster and forgot to turn it on.

    The sweet spot sounds awesome.

    ReplyDelete
  6. this is an absolutely beautiful post.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Mine is 12, (will be 13 in 3 weeks) and told me last night as we were discussing whether or not she could watch Grown Ups 2, "Mom, you have to let me grow up sometime." It breaks my heart. I miss the younger days, but at the same time, I love seeing all the changing and growing that happens as they get older. It takes my breath away when I think about it.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I am in the sweet spot now too. My son is 9 and my daughter almost 8 and they are 16 months apart. Oh how I remember those long days that I thought would never end. This really hit home with me and now I'm sitting here at my desk at work bawling my eyes out. Some days I long to go back to those days when they were tiny and innocent. Then I look at them and think...They are awesome, these two little people that I've created. Some days I feel like I'm screwing everything up but then I get a kiss and a hug and hear I love you mom.

    Thank you for this post today...thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mine are the same age/sex/difference in age. I understand completely.

      I'm watching mine fold laundry together. Where did my littles go?

      Delete
  9. My kids are 10, 8, and 5. It's awesome. Three years from now I'll have a teenager and three years ago I was changing diapers, but right now, it's pretty good.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Had very nearly this exact epiphany yesterday (also at the pool) while my 11yo daughter was splashing around with friends and my 6yo son was jumping into the pool by himself over and over again (which he just learned to do the day before). I can see my daughter edging into tween/teen territory, but it really is an amazing feeling to arrive at this point and realize we survived!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I've currently got a 3 year old. He's my only child and we're definitely entering the sweet spot! Potty training like a champ, finally getting over the picky "I won't eat anything except goldfish" phase, and he entertains himself with his toys for hours on end. I can finally check my email, cook a good dinner, do some errands, without screaming, diaper changing and feeling generally defeated... of course now we're discussing baby #2... sweet spot won't last long :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh man, you just described my life. My little one is almost three, and she's been pretty chill for a while now, but she's finally almost potty trained, and man, it sure makes a difference. (Well, she still poops in her pants, but I've sidestepped the stress by just throwing out the nasty undies. Who cares, I'll get new ones and it will still be cheaper than diapers. lol) And OF COURSE we have baby fever again now. Our species survives by its stupidity, not its intelligence like everyone seems to think :P

      Delete
  12. Oh wow, I hate you for making me cry first thing in the morning! This post was one of the most poignant I've ever read, because it is SO totally true.

    It all went by so fast. The Blur is still very blurry to me most days as all of my kids are special needs.

    The nice/sad thing is that I find it more like swimming than with baseball. Because there's a sweet spot EVERY time you reach the wall. You've reached the first.. not the last. There are more coming. I've seen them with my teens at various stages (my youngest is right on the cusp.. stinky feet but ages from bras or even washing her own hair).

    ReplyDelete
  13. "The hour before my husband got home from work? It took three days to get through that hour." pretty much EXACTLY.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I hate you for making me cry like this. Here I am ready for a funny post - there was a picture of a pizza on the driveway for crying out loud (and I was jealous - it looked like a good pizza - can't get those here) and then you write this wonderful, touching, PERFECT piece and I'm blubbering. where're the tissues?

    ReplyDelete
  15. First, "goat rodeo" made me cackle.
    Second, I love that sweet spots keep coming. If you keep your eyes open, you'll see that they're all over the place. Try not to regret that they're growing up, because really, it's wonderful and it they keep finding ways to amaze you.
    We can't be spoiling the gorgeousness of each sweet spot with the "oh no, they're growing up too fast!" because really, there's no other choice. Let them grow, but keep your eyes out. There are many moments where you find yourself balancing on the head of a pin, poised and perfect. That time when the baby is sleeping in a clean diaper, with a full tummy. That time when your daughter makes her first mud pie. Or when your son figures out how to write his name. They Are EVERYWHERE!

    ReplyDelete
  16. ugly crying at my desk, this is exactly why I read this blog, you can make me snort laugh and ugly cry and I love both experiences

    ReplyDelete
  17. This made me cry, and laugh, and cry again. Love your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Totally looking constipated right now myself!!! (And I am already congested so thanks for the tears!!!) My girls are getting so big I am almost past the sweet spot. They will be in 4th and 6th grade this year. Middle school!!! I have almost lost my little buddies and shortly will only have obnoxious teenagers who can't stand to be seen in public with me! Argh.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thanks for the reminder to just enjoy the sweet spot and not worry so much about tomorrow :-)

    ReplyDelete
  20. You know what is crazy? That sweet spot changes and evolves. I am past it, mostly. My oldest is one year away from soaring on her own, and we are knee deep in adolescence with the craziness and the beauty that comes with it. (And the fear, oh my god, the fear) But I still have one who is 10. She is in the sweet spot. And with her, that spot is clearer and more poignant than it was with my first two. I see her and want to freeze this time.

    ReplyDelete
  21. That almost made me go into the ugly cry, too. I keep thinking I'm hitting the sweet spot, then I wake to find one (or both!) kids in my bed because they had a nightmare. Yes, it's annoying, but after reading this I think maybe I don't mind so much. Sorry I laughed at your dirt pizza, but that shit was funny.

    ReplyDelete
  22. My kids are 8 and (almost) 5 - this post was awesome. Perfect and beautifully written.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Thank you for this, as a baked fresh blueberry muffins this morning while my 9 month helped me by waking up way too early. As my 3, 5, and 7 year old came down to the sweet smell. Then took one bite and decided that I must secretly be trying to poison them with a great breakfast. UGH!! Then I seeped away and read this post. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Love this! TMy kids are 16, 14 and 10, and last night I was going between the 10 and 14 year old's rooms because one had leg aches and one had a tummy ache - they still only sleep through the night sometimes, so today I'm in a bit of a fog again, but I do love the "sweet spots" and it really goes so fast!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Amazeballs. This is SO (almost) my life right now. Not QUITE at the sweet spot, as I'm still wiping an ass, but goat rodeo...yes. Thank you for the morning cry. So well written.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Yes, yes, YES! Except I'm also ugly crying at work and my coworkers (who really should know this for sure by now) are suspecting I'm insane. I have one foot in the sweet spot and one foot in The Blur ... a 6 yr old, a 4 yr old and an almost 1 yr old. The older two are semi-autonomous but the "baby" requires so much attention still (and should). But The Blur tends to push us into the deep end and leave us gasping for air, not hitting the stride and finding sweet spot for air that your son so aptly described. I long for the Sweet Spot that lies ahead, but I mourn for The Blur that will be left behind. Motherhood is a mind f**k :)

    ReplyDelete
  27. *sniff* Mine are 11 and 6. You have done me a priceless service today, reminding me to appreciate these little suckers as they fight their summer fights.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I am in the SWEET SPOT for a second time, children 26,24, 21 and 8! It does go way to fast. Slow everything down and please enjoy the ride. My older kids do not know that I didn't enjoy the ride the first time around. I am glad they don't know it! Great piece! Motherhood is truly a BLESSING!

    ReplyDelete
  29. "Goat rodeo" is my favorite part of this sweet post, because YES! Somewhere between 5-8 that's what happens at my house. I'm always like "how did this all disintegrate so fast?!?

    There are sweet spots everywhere, we just have to be on the lookout :)


    ReplyDelete
  30. Thanks for the ray of hope. When I was pregnant, I quit my job which was right in line with my dream career. My husband went through a string of deployments (he was gone 20 out of 24 months), and my boss had turned in her resignation, leaving me with no real mentoring plan or direction. Plus I wanted very much to be home with my new baby. Fast forward to now, I can't get back into my field. My son who is almost 6 is happy, healthy and bright, but I feel stagnant. I volunteer in my field, but we have no extra money for anything - or for going anywhere fun - and I loathe our hideous 70's rental house so much I want to run screaming away sometimes.

    I'm glad I read this. I'm interpreting it as: "This isn't forever. Things get better."

    ReplyDelete
  31. This is so lovely! Really helped me put things back in perspective. I'm deep in The Blur right now (with a 3-year-old who STILL isn't potty trained and a 1-year-old) and I actually think about your Blur post often, to reassure myself that this isn't just something I'm going through. I loved this post, too, and I have a feeling I'll be coming back to it again as my boys get older. I'm dreaming of the days when we're done with diapers and the complete illogic of toddlers but I know I'll miss their tiny-ness and baby cheeks, too.

    ReplyDelete
  32. You are completely and totally awesome. So well written I thought you were a real professional and everything.

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  33. I'm weeping like an idiot. It really IS the sweet spot. My oldest just turned 14. She is a bit of an introvert so we have luckily been in the sweet spot for several years IN A ROW! But, alas! She starts high school next month. I'm terrified that it's going to end.

    ReplyDelete
  34. This was an awesome post, thank you for this.
    Any time you have a chance to look around and take in the moment is a sweet spot.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Oh man, I feel like we are just leaving that sweet spot. My 11 year old daughter is starting puberty and pimples and tweeny emotional angst. I just want to skip ahead to 20 some days. She mostly still wants to be close to me though, so I have some time there.

    ReplyDelete
  36. I just hit the sweet spot, my youngest will be 5 in the fall, oldest is 8 and I've got a 7 year old in the middle. It really is lovely here. Thanks for reminding me!

    ReplyDelete
  37. My son just turned 7 and my daughter will soon be 5. They can dress themselves, feed themselves, and yes, wipe themselves! I love it when my daughter sleeps with me because it happens less and less these days. I am in the sweet spot and pray I haven't missed too much, which must mean I'm doing it just right.

    And just to prove I find the funny at the most inappropriate times, goat rodeo. Snort!

    ReplyDelete
  38. Beautiful post Lydia!

    ReplyDelete
  39. My son and I have passed the sweet spot. He will soon be 19 and I'm dreading it. My baby and my best friend! He will soon be soaring away on his own adventure. I am so proud of him and his accomplishments! He truely is AWESOME!!!

    ReplyDelete
  40. I have a 19yo and a 12 yo and you have no idea what this post means to me. I am proud that my 19 yo is soaring - she is ready. I miss her sorely as she is away at college in another state - yet I also know we prepared her well. My 12 yo will be ready to soar but for now I am relishing every minute and trying not to hold her back.

    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  41. I really shouldn't read this when my period is about to start and PMS is around the corner. Totally making constipated face now.

    ReplyDelete
  42. LOVE THIS!!! Even though you made me cry, dammit!

    ReplyDelete
  43. First. Thank you for "goat rodeo." Just... thank you.

    Second: Thank you for alerting me to the lessening of my blur. It's still there, but it's sharpening around the edges. Maybe knowing it's happening will allow me to catch it just before the sweet spot happens so I can realllllly savor it.

    Third: Soak it up. Enjoy it. Guiltlessly. You earned it. You did the work. You endured every t-box milking inducing moment, and came out on the other side with GOOD kids. And a good marriage. And as an INCREDIBLE and talented and amazing person. It is fleeting, but all of it is. Every moment of every day is a unique and precious one we will never get back.

    So, this sweet spot... it's your reward. It's a gift. But it's the kind you know you're entitled to. You know, like at a baby shower or something. So think of it as a teen year shower, or empty nest shower. You get the amazing gifts before it actually happens.

    And fifth: They will ALWAYS LOVE AND NEED YOU. They will. They will be learning how to show it and dealing with that fact all in their own way. But they will. And that, is the sweetest.

    Hugs to you. And thank you for a beautiful post! <3

    ReplyDelete
  44. Damn tears. Mine is near 21months already, and I want another so badly it hurts. So I guess I'm in the " sweet blur? "

    ReplyDelete
  45. Oh I'm crying here. I'm there too right now, though my 11 year old is trying really hard to push past and I'm trying so hard to keep her in this exact spot. I tell my 7 year old that she has to stay like this forever because she's at that wonderful age where she still wants me, but doesn't absolutely need me for every little thing. My friends with older children have told me this time was coming, but I didn't believe it and now they tell me to enjoy because it goes by way too quickly. Enjoy your time as I'm trying to enjoy mine. :)

    ReplyDelete
  46. Sigh. I'm in a sweet spot now - the first I think I've had in my 5 years of parenting. I actually just wrote about it tonight. Our summer has been so much easier than last, and I'm soaking in every single day because my twins start kindergarten in the fall and the youngest is going to preschool. It's so bittersweet that the time they turn into actual human beings that I enjoy taking places coincides with the time they are about to leave me. At least I see kindergarten as them leaving me.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Great post. I am a brand new mom, and this makes me want to savor every moment. Well, most moments ;)

    ReplyDelete
  48. Oh, Lydia. I think that post is a sweet spot. And so very, very true. What lucky moms we are-- to have our families, and to have this blog. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Went from out loud cackling at the pizza to tears at the sweet spot. My boys are 9 and 6 so we are there too but you put it into the words I didn't have. And either the Blur has left some permanent damage or turning 40 is kicking me into early senility because yesterday halfway to a waterpark over an hour away I realized I had forgotten the bag with all the towels, my wallet, waterpark tickets, sunscreen, etc. My boys actually had to tell me it was okay because I was so upset and angry with myself. At least I know they are growing into caring and concerned little men.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Thank you for that. I am a dad who is crying at my desk.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Really lovely post. I have never commented before, but I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed reading this. Thanks for the laughs and tears!

    ReplyDelete
  52. Just wonderful. You have such a gift for capturing and expressing everything so perfectly! And lol funny! Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Although I am beyond neck deep in "the blur" with my 3 year old and 13 month old I couldn't imagine the sweet spot getting any sweeter than this.

    I just want them to stay my babies. I see everyone around me growing older. Not just my babies, but my parents, grandmother, siblings, friends, and significant other... all I can keeping thinking is where did all that time go? What did we do with all of it? Its gone and I can never get it back...

    Most deffinitely a bitter sweet feeling.

    You have written a very beautiful post.

    Cheers to the "sweet spot!"

    ReplyDelete
  54. Wow, I think we might be living parallel lives. I just wrote the following to a friend in am email yesterday "It's been a busy summer but so much fun, I'm wishing I could pause time just for a bit as my kids are getting older so quickly now. They seemed to be little forever and now all of a sudden they are growing before my eyes. Just trying to soak in all these summers and mark them in my memories!", and then read your blog for the first time today. My girls are 11 and 5 and my son is 9. We just finished up summer swim team, and I had the same epiphany as you about the sweet spot as I watched my kiddos at the pool. Thank you for sharing, it was beautiful to me. Tears.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Crying! My girlfriend & I were sitting by the pool complaining about all of the bickering & mess making & not listening!:) and then we both looked over & realized, we're not in the pool with them and nobody was fighting, or crying and we were ACTUALLY HAVING AN UNINTERUPTED CONVERSATION! We paused, looked at each other & got misty eyed...You're totally & completely right, it's a fleeting sweet spot! I just adore your blog, I'm sending this to my fellow Warrior Moms!;)

    ReplyDelete
  56. I love moments like that...though for me they're rare because I'm up to my arms in diapers and exhaustion with 2 small children. Looking forward to hitting that sweet spot as well. Great writing

    ReplyDelete
  57. My son is less than a month away from turning 17 and then 3 days later starting his senior year in high school - how I miss those times, yet treasure and look forward for him to begin his sweet spot moments in life.

    ReplyDelete
  58. So perfectly spot on. Thank you for sharing these words - we too are in the sweet spot. My girls are 10, 8, & 6, and so helpful and so living. And we have our issues, but I see beautiful people developing I them ;) I am hopeful,

    ReplyDelete
  59. This is an amazing post. My only kiddo is just about to begin 2nd grade. We are in that sweet spot right now. I want to stop for a bit.

    ReplyDelete
  60. This was lovely. It's just so cool that there are all kinds of sweet spots--when this one ends (in about 10 minutes) another one will come along and save you.

    ReplyDelete
  61. This brought me right back to being at the community pool with my two boys. I can almost taste it....
    That was about 15 years ago, and now my kids are 20 and 18. Looking forward to finding the sweet spot again in about 1 1/2 weeks, when my 20 year old comes home from Europe and he'll be here for a few days before heading to college.
    Sigh, life goes too fast.

    ReplyDelete
  62. I've never heard a more perfect two word description of what raising kids REALLY is than "goat rodeo". It is simply perfection. This is perhaps the best article on motherhood I've ever read and so perfectly hits my own "sweet spot" with my 8 year old right now. His big brother is 16 and so not wanting his mom anymore--which makes me cherish my little guy and these fleeting moments even more.

    Thank you THANK YOU for giving words to my heart today!

    ReplyDelete
  63. Getting ready to send my son off to college next month. Your heartfelt observations reminded me of those days "in the Blur" and enjoying those moments in the "Sweet Spot." Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  64. Thank you for such a pitch perfect rendering. I too read this while at the office and I too ended up in tears. It made me remember a few lines I wrote back when my now-20 year old was just about to head into his perfectly terrible and terribly perfect twos. Written from a sweet spot in the early 90s:

    Untitled

    When his still-forming, already-formed fingers, working all together around some lid finally get done what his little grunts give away he wants so bad to be done, it is I who want to leap.

    He and his fingers and his little grunts just move on to the next lid. He will keep moving, head down from one effort to the next, leaving behind sunk in me a crying joy for each.

    ReplyDelete
  65. This piece moved me because I too am in that place. You described it well. Thank you and enjoy!

    ReplyDelete
  66. This blog post was a sweet spot. Thank you for great thoughts expressed with great prose. My kids are now 30, 27, and 22. Two grandchildren. I look both forward and backward...and hear the crack of the bat, the perfect pitch during a midnight sing-fest, the soft nuzzle of a neck hug, the quiet landing of every tear that falls, the hope of confidence with a secret shared, ...and I whisper, "Ah, the sweet spot."

    ReplyDelete
  67. This blog post was a sweet spot. Thank you for great thoughts expressed with great prose. My kids are now 30, 27, and 22. Two grandchildren. I look both forward and backward...and hear the crack of the bat, the perfect pitch during a midnight sing-fest, the soft nuzzle of a neck hug, the quiet landing of every tear that falls, the hope of confidence with a secret shared, ...and I whisper, "Ah, the sweet spot."

    ReplyDelete
  68. Dammit, why do you have me cry AGAIN? We're not quite at the sweet spot (almost-4 and almost-6) but I see glimpses of it through the trees.

    ReplyDelete
  69. This post on AOL came at the perfect time, my son is 14 yrs old and will be starting High School next month and I have moments of depression and anxiety because time has gone by so quickly. What happened to my little man I used to carry on my hip and would let me get loads of kisses and hugs? Now it's the computer and the xbox ,only coming out of his room to see whats for dinner...What I wouldn't give just to be on the floor playing with Hotwheels and Thomas the Train again. So Ladies and Gentleman I know you maybe in a hurry to get to that "Sweet Spot" but don't rush it, savor every minute of everyday no matter how hectic it becomes. I hope I have set my son up to be "Completely Awesome" I guess it's time to let him soar...

    ReplyDelete
  70. This is the best article I've ever read about being a parent! I totally cried at work. Thank you for being such a fantastic, accurate, sensitive & hilarious voice!

    ReplyDelete
  71. I have one foot in the sweet spot.Ha! I have a 6year old and a 2 year old. It is nice right now because all the things I miss going for my very independent 6 year old..I still get to do for the baby..feed, bathe, kiss chubby little fingers and toes, and change diapers. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it is bittersweet. I know I will always be needed and they will always be my babies....But it will be nice to get a full nights sleep and oh yes..also to use the bathroom in peace.

    ReplyDelete
  72. The "Sweet Spot" sounds blissful. I have a 2 and 4 year old boy and the "Blur" is a perfect description of my life. I know how blessed and I and try my best to enjoy this time but I am looking forward to the day when I can have a 5 minute uninterrupted conversation. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Mine are now 27, 29, and 30 with a 29 year old son in law. That sweet spot from long ago has been replaced with a different sweet spot. They're grown ups. It's nice. Very nice. You get to see all that hard work pay off and they become friends with each other and us. I used to refer to the Blur and playing beat the clock every day. Slow down, don't sweat the small stuff and enjoy the ride!

    ReplyDelete
  74. This is some brilliant writing! I love, love, love it! ... had to laugh ... After not one, but all three kids, plus two cats came into the bathroom while I was sitting on the toilet, I thought, "all those years when I dreamed of performing in front of a live audience, this is NOT what i had in mind!"

    ReplyDelete
  75. Thank you for giving this moment in life a name. It absolutely sums it up perfectly.

    ReplyDelete
  76. Beautiful and precious. Thanks soooo much for sharing. God Bless you.

    ReplyDelete
  77. So glad you are able to stop and appreciate where you are and what you have. Yes, the years fly and, before you know it, your child is "41".............. but how can that be???? Wasn't I just 41?? Enjoy every precious moment that you can!

    ReplyDelete
  78. Wonderful post! Right on time. I guess I experienced a "sweet spot" this week with my 8 and 9 year old boys. It was the day after my oldest fell and got a gash in his lip while ice skating. Long story short, after a visit to the ER for two stitches (where it took 4 people to hold him down) and a trip to the dentist - the next day seemed like a dream. We were in the park and for at least 45 minutes where I just watched my boys laugh and play. I wanted to stay right there, frozen in time. The "sweet spot" is truly sweet! Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  79. Bawled reading this. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  80. This is really beautiful....I realized that I'm in the sweet spot too, with kids aged 7, 11, & 13. Plus I love the day before you realized this. Really great post. Thank you for keepin' it real mom.
    Amy R.

    ReplyDelete
  81. With elementary school pickups a recent pastime (13 and 11 year daughters) this hit home even for Daddy. Gotta ask: Where do diving boards still exist in a community pool? I miss those.

    ReplyDelete
  82. Great article. I loved it!
    http://bellabargains.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  83. My girls are 18 and 20 now. The sweet spot you described is long gone. Two nights ago, I had a dream. One was almost 3 and the other was about 18 months in my dream. The 3 year old asked to see a video so I went and put one in for her. I walked away to check to on the little one who was sleeping and I noticed the 3 year old ran off to another room.(So much for the video) I went back into that room to turn off the TV and found one of necklaces completely taken apart. (She was my rambunctious one.) After I cleaned up the necklace, I walked out of the room to find my 18 month old with her blankie walking toward me. She raised up her arms; I picked her up and she put her head on my shoulder. OMG, I could smell her sweet scent. I walked back to the living room with her and sat down. The older one came over and sat right next me to too. Then my husband woke me up to go to church. I was so mad at him. I didn't want to wake up. I've had this dream in my head for two days now and I cry every time I re-live my dream. I had never dreamt them as babies. I haven't told anyone because I'm sure they are going to think I'm crazy and then I found this. Thanks for allowing me to share my dream with hopefully Mommies who won't think I'm too crazy. Your article was great. They do grow up way too fast. Enjoy them.. every minute. MH

    ReplyDelete
  84. *snif, snif* Ugh... the wonderful memories of that particular sweet spot. I feel like I'm in the second major one in my life as a mother. My daughter will be starting her Senior year of college this fall and has plans to marry next July and go off to Grad School with her new hubby. While I'm totally thrilled for them (although, Gawd are they young for this!) it really puts me into the next phase of my life. I know this next year will whiz by and I'm hoping to slow it down and enjoy this sweet spot for a while.

    ReplyDelete
  85. Thank you for this post. I've never seen your blog before and saw this on huffpost. I'm a work at home dad, and my wife works part time outside the house. We have a 2yr old, 6 yr old, and 7 yr old, and we keep telling ourselves things like "in the fall it will be better b/c the older two will be at the same school" and "when the 2yr old potty trains it will be easier." But sometimes I just can't believe it. I think "something else will come up. Some other challenge or extracurricular will come up to suck up our time and make life difficult." So it was nice to read that as the kids grow up there might be that sweet spot when even the youngest requires less attention, the oldest is old enough to help out more, and mommy and daddy might be able to find some sanity.

    ReplyDelete
  86. At the doctor today listening to my heartbeat, and had a flashback to listening to my baby's heart during the ultrasound 17 years ago - she if off on a college tour this week. Time really does fly!

    ReplyDelete
  87. I have a photo of my 3 at ages 3, 8, and 11. They are in a pyramid— two (older) girls on the bottom, little guy on their backs. All smiling real smiles, not the "potato" variety. A frozen sweet spot in our lives. I didn't think it could get any better. And then, after the bras and Little League and school crises and friend crises and college application and acceptance crises, and just when you think they don't and you can't love each other like before, they want to go on a grown-up vacation as a family and they give you grandchildren and you experience a whole new series of sweet spots.

    I once wrote a poem about just wanting to sit there and look at them and not mother them ... just for 5 minutes. Your post captured it all. Thank you so much for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  88. While I also agree with The Sweet Spot, right now I'm also enjoying this Pre Sweet Spot. My kids are 6, 4, and 2. It is wonderful enjoying their entry into kindergarten and preschool knowing I can still enjoy a bit of solitary snuggle time with my youngest. I had no idea my social life would explode once my kids started school. I have so many new, wonderful, quality friends. I have many other wonderful friends, but these parent-friends have a deeper understanding of parenthood.

    For quite a while my husband and I thought we were going crazy with having our kids so close together. But I remember now why we did. We thought of how wonderful it would be to be done with diapers over a short amount of time versus many more years if we'd spaced out our kids more. My kids are TIGHT. They fight, they love each other, they help each other, they teach each other, and they drive each other crazy.

    This Pre Sweet Spot is the time when my kids are not only being raised by my husband and me, but they're also learning from each other and my presence for immediate or emergency help is beginning to diminish. I know that once I actually get to The Sweet Spot I will bask in the delight that my youngest son will no longer pull my daughter's hair, and that my oldest son will very capably pour milk from a heavy milk carton into a small cup, and that my daughter will remember to not only flush but also wash her hands every time she uses the bathroom.

    I'm not there yet, but it IS getting easier. And for all the NEW mothers, try your hardest to make the best out of every unexpected turn. Expect and accept the unexpected and that will make the tear-stained, delirious, exhausted, baffling moments turn into incandescent, slow-motion, gems of joy.

    ReplyDelete
  89. What a great post. My wife had me read it and with two young boys, 3 and 11 months it is nice knowing we may see the 'sweet spot' soon. Thank you for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  90. As a dad of 4 boys (3 grown now, 1 ten) I can relate. Like to offer you free passes for you and your family on our farm (Ticonderoga Farms in Chantilly) complete with a free pizza from Paisano's. Don't need anything in return! Can reach me at david at ticonderoga dot com.

    ReplyDelete
  91. Do not despair! You will keep finding those sweet spots with every new phase of being a parent. You will soon be enjoying great middle and high school extracurricular events, whether it is academic, athletic, or artistic. You will be shopping for prom dresses, taking photos of large groups of kids hanging at your house, and will be teaching them to drive (yes, it may be compared to sitting in the too-warm baby pool, trying to pretend that it’s not disgusting-but it will eventually be considered a "sweet spot". Can't forget getting ready for graduation and college preparation - proud, emotional and yet, another sweet spot watching the transformation. And then there is the wedding - from planning every detail to seeing your daughter in "the perfect dress"- I thought nothing could beat that. Wrong again! Soon you will have your sweet spot magnified 1 million times with having grandchildren to start the cycle all over again. Enjoy every phase as the sweet spots are always there - just different.

    ReplyDelete
  92. I have yet to get to that sweet spot, but I live in hope. Thank you for renewing my faith that it will come :0)

    ReplyDelete

ShareThis

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

What My 9 yr old is reading:

Stuff that Mini Loves

Popular Posts