I was driving my kids to the store last week when my 5-year-old daughter suddenly piped up from the backseat. We were not talking about anything particular, and unrelated to any prior conversation that morning, my daughter asked me a question.
She wanted to know where people came from. Specifically, she was trying to understand how there were once only dinosaurs, and now there was a world full of humans. “Mommy,” she spoke,”how did we all get born?”
I thought about it for a moment, got my head out of the shopping list it was creating, and realized my daughter was basically asking me about evolution. I was taken by surprise, and really had to stop and think about how to answer that one. Finally, I came up with the most simple explanation of tiny animals becoming bigger animals, turning into humans and so on. She seemed to be OK with this explanation, and we went along with the rest of our day.
I thought about her question that night, and realized it was the first of many questions that would take me by surprise, throw me for a loop and probably leave me speechless, at least briefly. Answering her questions, preparing her for life, dealing with the emotional meltdowns, dramatic twists and turns, and daily power struggles…this was not easy stuff.
When my daughter was first born, I remember having that same sort of “thrown for a loop” feeling. I needed guidance, direction and strength. That came, in time. I thought having a new baby was so challenging, but I was only on the first leg of a very long journey. As she grew, I gained a new appreciation for those peaceful days of watching a baby sleep, playing peek-a-boo and having mashed peas hurled at your adoring smile.
I am already mentally preparing myself for the day when my sweet little 1-year-old son will come to me with life’s difficult questions and throw me for yet another loop. For now, I will appreciate a simple game of ball with him and also appreciate the curiosity, wisdom and unique personality that makes my daughter both challenging and the light of my life.
I now know that as my children grow, raising them will get more manageable, but never easier. When one phase ends, a new one begins and somehow, we will get through them all together.
Ruth blogs over at http://agirlandaboy4me.ning.com/