Yep, don't kid yourself, parenting is a full-contact sport. If you've ever tried to put a diaper on a 10 month old baby you know exactly what I mean. At that age you've given up on trying to use the changing table, the bed, the couch, or anything else more than 6 inches off the ground because you've caught the little bugger by the heel one too many times as they roll like an alligator killing their prey the moment air hits their little butt!
I'm sure you know what I mean if you've ever been caught between two toddlers, four hands, two feet, 28 teeth, and the only Dora phone in the entire world.
Or if you've ever thrown yourself in the way of a tipping shopping cart before it fell on the littlest member of the family because someone thought would make a good step ladder.
Or if you've ever been tackled on the floor of the living room by several sets of knees, elbows, feet, and tickling little hands.
Or if you've ever been 9 months pregnant, making your first of 6 trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night, stumbled over a few matchbox cars, stepped on a lego creation, and fallen into the toilet because your son didn't put the seat down.
Of course, if you've EVER been pregnant, gave birth, or breastfed a baby you already know how physically involved you get to be as a parent.
In some ways in the beginning of all this I thought it would be more closely related to going on a long, steep hike. Physically tiring, demanding, a little bit more than you thought you could handle, but at the top of the mountain there is this overwhelming sense of accomplishment and the exhilaration of standing at the top of the world.
When my son was born I fully expected that one day the tiring demands would slow down, maybe even stop completely, and that I'd be able to sit down, enjoy the feeling of "Hey, I made it up the hill and to the top of the mountain!".
Ignorance. Denial. Idealism. All that good stuff. Realizing and accepting that there would not be a "peak" to stop and check out the view from was hard. Or at least there wouldn't be any time SOON. I wanted to soak in the feeling of accomplishment that I made it through the various stages of pregnancy, babyhood, toddler trials, and all that. No time, though. In each completion of a stage there is nothing to do but walk through the door into the next stage, with all of its new challenges and trials.
And I have this sense that the minute the peak is reached I will realize exactly what's on that downhill slope: the Good-Bye stage. The Letting Go stage. The Heart Break stage.
The Empty Nest stage.
I guess for now I'll keep climbing this hill, taking my bright little moments of wonder and beauty as they fleetingly come and go, and thank God that I'm still on this exhausting, trying, patience-building side of the mountain.
Some day I'll look back and know I'd take these simple trials any day over the ones to be found over there. Some day I'll miss the mess, I'll miss the noise, and I'll even miss the fingerprints on the windows.
(emmy and elayna tackling mommy a few years ago)