Every time I am with Strudel, the word “joy” comes to mind. She just fills me with joy. I remember my kids doing that for me too. I recall the first time Son #1 saw his name on a billboard and he shouted with glee, “Hey, there is my name.” He wasn’t even 2 years old yet. I thought it was the cutest thing ever and it made me so happy. Until the next amazing thing he did. Of course, with your own children, the joy also comes when you have successfully made it through the day making sure that you didn’t leave them in the car, or anywhere else for that matter, and they finally fall asleep after you have read them 17 books. Okay, I am exaggerating. It was only four books and singing the “ABC song” 300 times. In any event, it was joyful.
If there are any young parents or future parents reading this, here is the life lesson. No matter how overwhelmed you are with whatever stage you are in — the no sleeping stage, the won’t toilet train stage, the why doesn’t he eat anything stage — whatever it is, take the time to soak it all in. Take the time to truly enjoy the giggling, the hugs, the tantrums, the whole thing, because you can never get that time back. They are born, and then you turn around and they are taller than you are, and they are moving out.
Why am I telling you this? Well, this is the time of year when I reflect on my pregnancies that weren’t.
Years ago, when I had been resigned to the fact that I was having only three children, someone pointed something out to me. Now, maybe they were saying it just to be kind, and if they did, it worked, but I also felt it was true. “You really enjoyed your babies,” she had said. “You never wanted to rush through it to get to the next one.” I kind of believe that. Of course, there were times that I wanted to lock myself in a room and leave them to their own devices, but that is totally normal, right? But my babies did bring me joy. And now the joy they bring me is totally different. When I hear that they all talk to each other almost every day, that brings me joy. When they talk to me about their day-to-day stuff or how much they love their babies, that brings me joy. Sorry if I am getting especially annoying this week.
One of the goals of having Strudel this past weekend was to get her to try on some dresses for a future family event. She would not do it. I put some dresses on her Mickey Mouse and Elmo dolls and she thought they looked great but the answer was a firm “No!” when I asked her to try them on. When I finally got one on her, she stomped around the house crying, which made me cry, but not enough not to also laugh at how adorable she looked wearing a poofy white dress that was way too big on her.
Anyway, when we went to visit my mom, I was telling her how Strudel wouldn’t try on the dresses. And she said to Strudel, “That’s funny, because Babka never wanted to try on dresses either.” Strudel looked at her, and it was like a light bulb went off on the top of her head. When we got home, I asked her, again, if we could please try on one of the dresses and she said, “Banji cry when she try on dresses. Strudel no cry.” And she tried on the dresses with nary a tear.
Who knew that all of the aggravation I gave my mom with trying clothes on would lead to my granddaughter putting on dresses without incident? And that brought me tremendous joy. And she looked adorable. Of course, come the day she actually needs to wear the dress and there could be a totally different scenario, but that is the joy of having a 2 ½-year-old.
And, again, the patience I have with her is astounding compared to what I had with the three monkeys who continue to bring me so much joy, thank God.
Yes, I overused the word joy. But we all need a little bit of that in our lives right about now.
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck is so looking forward to having all of her baked goods together…