Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Coffee With a Side of Reality

Since moving to Texas I've been lucky to make a few new friends.  Some have been through my sister, some have been on my own.  I'm pretty proud of myself to be able to make new friends at this age, because sometimes, it's not easy.

One of my new friends is the mother of a classmate of Claire.  In addition to her Claire-age child, she also has a son who is just one month and a handful of days younger than Zora.  She's super nice and very intelligent.  It's always nice to chat with her when we drop off the kids at school, so I was obliged to accept when she invited me to coffee.

We met at Starbucks and found a nice set of comfy chairs situated around a low table for the babies to walk around/destroy.

Dear patrons of Starbucks,
This is a coffee shop, not a library.  My child does not have to be quiet.  If you want quiet go buy some hipster giant headphones and put some anti-establishment stickers on them.  But, also realize that you can't get more establishment than Starbucks.  You are not ironic in the punk rock kind of way.  Get over yourself.  Thanks.

My friend and I landed on the predictable topic of child development.  It was all me, as it usually is.  I just feel this compulsion to talk about how everyone's kid is doing.  Not because I want to take anything away from anyone as far as kudos go, but because I need reassurance that my children are doing okay.  Even though I have two children, I consider myself a first-time mom because Claire isn't old enough to have taught us what we need to know to raise Zora without a few questions.  We're learning as we go here people.

So, anyway, my friend did her masters work in the area of child development(I know it was actually called something else, but I can't remember now).  She has many friends who are in the field.  A lot of these women work in the field because they have children with special needs.  I was fascinated by what she was saying because now I have a virtual expert in my presence.  What she said though, stopped me in my tracks and shifted my focus.

She said that for her to share her children's milestones, like walking and talking, was unfair to many of her friends.  While they would of course be happy and proud for her and share in her excitement, some of them would never have those milestones.  Their child might never speak a single word, let alone "mommy" or "I love you."  They might never get to have that hug that comes at the end of the run down the hallway.  That's not to devalue what they will experience, but it puts life in perspective, at least for me.

It's another one of those moments we are given from time to time that bring you back to reality.  I say "given" because I think these moments and the people that share them with you are a gift.  A gift sent to remind you that even the smallest thing is important when it comes to raising kids.  The smiles and giggles, the hugs and kisses, the moments.  Those are what matter.  The ABCs and 123s?  They have their place and I couldn't be prouder of Claire and Zora when they learn something new.

There's a middle ground, though, right?  There's something between enjoying every second and not caring and obsessing over achievement?  I'm working to find that balance.  I suppose it depends on how you measure success.  Today success for us equals a baby who took two steps in a row and a big girl who decided it's "unda-weaws" from now on...good luck to her teachers today...tomorrow success might be a new food sampled or a new song learned.  I like this success.