Saturday, April 12, 2014


Two nights ago John had out our actual video camera that we haven't used for a couple of years.  We took a few trips down memory lane and reminded ourselves of the value of taking video, because you never get those precious little baby voices back.  I started crying as I watched two year old Lily playing with 5 month old Bella while Lily answered these questions that I had actually forgotten, because it was over three years ago.


We saw me, pregnant with Lily, just as we were about to enter the throes of parenting.  We saw tiny Lily, who had two parents all to herself giving her a bottle.  Current John and Carol laughed at John and Carol of the past, because our past selves didn't realize how easy it was to just have one child.  And you never do, when you just have one, because it is all you know.


The reality is that parenthood is overwhelming at the beginning.  And until you are faced with it, you never could know how many little decisions that you would have to make or could understand how that precious little person would depend on you for absolutely every single thing in their world.  No pressure.


But slowly and surely, you get your parenting feet under you.  You commiserate with other parents and you start to realize that the world may not implode if your baby is not napping in their crib from the very first week of their life.  Or if they take a paci.  Or if they suck their thumb.  Or if they eat on demand or on a schedule.  The things that consume at the beginning fade as you start to figure it out.


Another child comes along, and you end up loosening even more.  Which, to be honest, we were pretty loosened up to start with, because we have always been the parents to clean the paci from the floor by sticking it in our own mouths, because it all "builds immunity."  And then we adopted twins, and we went into full blown survival mode.


You want to eat three granola bars this morning and track the sticky little pieces all over the house and in my bed?  Sure thing - just please let me sleep a little longer.  And get one or two for your sister while you are at it.  You want to listen to the Frozen soundtrack on repeat all morning long at full blast?  No problem. I would love that too, because at least you probably won't be whining.  The baby is crying again?  Which one?  All of them?  Great - sounds about right.  Surely there is a bottle in the fridge or part of one leftover from sometime that we could give them.  I don't know how old it is - does it really matter?


In the past year, most semblance of order went out the window, and John and I both found that we could do more than we thought we could, because WE HAD TO.  All of the sudden it became easy to only put two kids down to bed, because it meant that you weren't doing all four by yourself.  It is amazing what perspective does for you.  On some days when I drop the babies off for therapy and only take the girls grocery shopping, it feels so easy with just two.  But I remember when just a little over a year ago, it would have felt so hard to grocery shop with both girls.


Now that we are five years in and four kids deep, I have realized that we will always be learning and growing as parents.  I cannot predict or imagine what it will be like to parent children who are all in elementary school, but in five years, that's where we will be.  Or what it will be like to have four teenagers at the same time.  There will be new challenges, and I imagine that sometimes I will look back and long for the days when having the Frozen songs carved into my consciousness was one of my biggest parenting grievances.

I can't know or understand what I haven't yet walked through.  Future John and Carol will probably look back and be able to laugh at current John and Carol for our current naiveté.  But guess what - I wouldn't trade it.  We are in the thick of it, and I don't want to fast forward or miss a moment.  (Okay, there are some moments that I could stand to miss.  Like the ones where all four kids are crying about something.  But, I am sure those are character building - right?  Or something like that.)

We've come a long way, but we've still got a long way to go.  As in, a lifetime.  Because you never stop being a parent.  We are in it for the long haul, and I wouldn't have it any other way.  It's the hardest thing I've ever done on a consistent basis, and I've got so much still to learn.  One day at a time.

(All pictures from lunch at our house yesterday.  Violet LOVES when Lily brings our cat to her.)


Hyeyoon Song said...

Hi Carol and John!
Just wanted to say hi! Your children are so so so so beautiful. I almost cried looking through your pictures and your diary. Joon and I following your blog time to time. I hope you are all well. Keep in touch!

P.S. we found Chik' filet near our home. One of our church members told us about it!

Carol Spenst said...

So glad to hear from you! I have some pictures to email you that I keep meaning to send. Hope you guys are adjusting well to married life! And, glad you found a Chick-fil-A!