Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday Frenzy: The Little and the Big

(This week's installment of Friday Frenzy comes from Eli over at Coach Daddy Blog. I met Eli about a year ago through the blogosphere and instantly fell in love with his writing style, his genuineness and his never-ending quest for knowledge. He totally lets it slide when I use nouns as verbs- like saying I "Youtubed" a video last night- even though it's one of his pet peeves, so he's definitely a keeper. Check out his blog; you won't regret it! A huge thanks to Eli for participating in Friday Frenzy!! ~Tatted Mom)

The Little and the Big
Pic Courtesy: Kalexanderson via photopin cc

I saw a mom at the park recently with her little kids. Little legs. Soft skin. Bright eyes.

Her kids had them, too.

See, you know you're getting old when you see a young mom and she looks just like a big sister. This was at the same park I used to run. Marie would come too, and lap me. I went round and round, entrenched in my battle of will and personal-best times. It didn't matter when I started or where I was.

Just that I'm in it.

It's that way, with parenting, too. Ms. Millennial mom might be of a different era. She can follow a yoga instructor without mumbling R-rated words under breath like I do. I guess she has no trouble using that tiny keyboard on her smartphone, either.

***

My girls aren't little, but they're still my babies.

The youngest is 9, the oldest, 16. There's a 13-year-old in the middle. Birthdays are coming soon and
I'll have to update my About page when they do. Birthdays are benchmarks for where you are as a parent.

But the transitions are constant.

The things I could tell the mom with the baby on her hip and toddler at her side and tattoo on her foot.



The big gets even bigger...

You’ll see. Just wait until you’re buying twice as many razors so she can shave her legs, too. And him, his face. Just like laps in the park, post markers pass with a blur. Big-kid kids' meal toys ... front-facing car seats ... kindergarten ... chapter books.

Sports bras ... choosing favorite teams ... makeup. Instagram, nail polish and sleepovers. Smartphones ... later bed times ... club soccer. You'll see first goals and lunch detention and mistakes and friends made. Innocence and friends lost. You’ll see a princess put away her tiara to take the field and beat the boys.

But as they get bigger, as they sit in the front seat with dad and talk with him side by side and ask his opinion and give him theirs, you see things. You see your own views, filtered. You understand their thoughts. You see qualities that drew you to their mom in the first place.


The little, there’s a lot in that too...

I could post all about first goals and middle school transitions and the first day of high school. Playoff shutouts and church solos, or when a girl earns captain status of the cross country team. All these are beginnings, but they sometimes overshadow the ends before them.

Ends are big, too. They're the good stuff we get to see when we have our kids every day in our lives. Grandparents leave and lament missing all the little in between the big they see. The little differences are too subtle for us to see in the everyday.

Ends are trash bags stuffed with hand-me-downs. "No" to cartoon characters they once adored. Ends come when you realize they don't ask you to play UNO just before bedtime any more. When did that end? If I knew, we would have stayed up way past midnight that night.

With snacks. Lots of snacks.

My dad, and my oldest daughter. The only one he ever met.

You see most, if not all...

When you're a parent and you're so close to your kids, you see all the little. You get close to their faces when they talk so you can see and hear their words delivered with a lisp. You recognize the sound their feet make when they sneak out of bed too early in the morning. Or late at night.

You listen to dreams of playing the tuba or promises for what they'd do if they could only get find a hamster under the tree for Christmas. You do all this with equal parts hope and disbelief.

You see differences in last year's soccer and first-grade school pictures. When they hug you and their head rests on your shoulder, not on your hip. The day college is closer than kindergarten. At times you find more of a young lady in her elegant cheekbones than the young child in chubby cheeks.

You see these things every day, and they seem small. But they're not. You know better. They're part
of something big. You sense that even if you can't see it.

And when someone comes along and brings up the big, well, you can recognize it then, too.


When he isn’t hosting his cool friends as guest bloggers or lamenting days of lost plastic dinosaurs and Star Wars figures, Eli Pacheco writes the blog Coach Daddy. Follow him on Google Plus, Pinterest and Twitter.



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20 comments:

  1. Morgan - thanks so much for the space here!

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    1. You are very welcome! Thank you for being a part of Friday Frenzy!! ;)

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  2. Oh this made me teary!! I just wrote about how it gets easier is a big fat parenting lie and this post hits the heart of why I believe that. We love our kids so much it hurts, and all the big things and all the little things are wrapped up right in our hearts...and theirs. This was beautiful Eli!

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    1. Loved that post Rachael ... the thing about the big, little, easy and hard, is that they run so into each other that it just seems like chaos sometimes. Or just a very quiet still. Either way ... what an experience to be wrapped up in.

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  3. Sometimes all those little things don't seem big until they're gone. I love the part about your daughter sitting up front and talking with you. You do get to see their personality emerge and it's amazing to hear their thoughts. Some of my favorite conversations have occurred when only one kid is in the car with me riding up front.

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    1. That's true - and you dont' know where they've gone, right Marie? Those conversations are stellar. My youngest sat up front with me on a short trip recently and I got a preview for what it will be like when she gets up here, too. Have you written any posts about those conversations?

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  4. I'm fighting tears right now. Great job Eli! I really needed this... So appropriate with my Little Miss turning yet another year older tomorrow. Just wonderful. xo

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    1. I had no idea this one would be a tear-jerker! My youngest reached double digits on Monday, so it was probably on my mind for a while. Thanks, Yanic.

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  5. Mine is moving out in a few weeks, which is going to be an adjustment. Yet, when we went to Target the other day, he asked for a new deck of UNO cards. Guess he wants to show off before he leaves. I may just let him win, for the memories it will make.

    There really is something magical about the front seat of a car and parent-child conversations. :-)

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    1. it never ends, does it? I think you should beat him soundly and remind him who is master ;) Or when he's not looking, give him four draw fours in his hand and see how he plays out slamming his mama.

      I think front-seat conversations would make a great blog prompt, don't you?

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  6. Well, geez, Eli! Thanks for making me cry here at my desk on a Monday morning! I think this a beautiful look at the bittersweet-ness of having kids. This is a good reminder to appreciate all the little and big moments with the kiddos. Maybe even the 4am ones.

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    1. All around the clock, Rabia. We're never closed for business, are we? I wouldn't have it any other way.

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  7. Eli my old Mate you've excelled yourself here, such a beautiful piece of writing. You're a very lucky man to have your 3 girls in your life. Every moment needs to be cherished, because regrets tend to find us in the dark hours of early mornings and remind us of what we've lost. My son is 40 now and lives in the UK. Most of his childhood was spent in and out of hospital for various operations. (He's my agent orange baby) After he recovered from a life threatening full body infection at 24, he said, 'I'm leaving for Canada next week.' We never had a chance to enjoy his company as a young adult, he was always a patient. I didn't touch his room after he left, just in case. A fortnight later I opened his door, stood there and wept. It felt like he had died.

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    1. Mate, thanks for sharing this story. I think the world of that bloke's dad, you know. He carries your legacy, too.

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  8. Yes, a very beautiful piece of writing that marries what all of us as parents want - we want them to get bigger all while wishing they would just stay little forever. But eventually we come around to the thinking that there's beauty in both the big and little.

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    1. Thanks Kathy - roots and wings, that's what we want for them, right? There's tons of beauty here, there, and everywhere in between.

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  9. My "kids" are bigs now, but occasionally I see glimpses of the little and it warms my soul. There are years between teens and grown ups where you wonder if they'll ever be the people you thought you were raising or if they'll be half-crazed and a bit edgy forever. Then one day, they're BIG and a little piece of your heart settles, then another and another. Pride takes it's place because of the BIGs they have become. These days I'm wishing they'd hurry up and have littles of their own. (sigh)

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    1. Those portions of little never disappear, do they? I think the people they become are much greater than we could have imagined, because its some of their family, some of their environment, and a whole lot of what has always been within them. It IS something to be proud of. And there's always a next step to look forward to.

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  10. Well, just when I thought I was all cool with this first grade thing...I'm not. This has me all stupid and weepy, but it's really beautiful, Eli. You're right - every single moment is beautiful. Right now I'm kind of struggling in a weird place. We have one child and I recently realized that all of her first are also all of her lasts...and I can't get my head out of that place right now. So yeah, I'm kind of crying over this one. I have to go stare at her while she plays for a while...

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    1. I think it's fine not to be cool with any spot on this, Lisa. Even the good stuff even makes you weepy, like a strong finish in a cross-country race or just seeing that a favorite T-shirt of theirs doesn't fit anymore. It's not always easy to see the beginnings that happen right alongside the endings.

      I think it helps to remember the stuff right on the horizon. Funny things, like when my kids say they know school has gotten serious when math sheets are full of problems - not just a few, and a picture of a hippo on roller skates. When you see your kid - and her friends - hitting growth spurts. When you notice them struggle with that need to grow up and branch out and a desire to stay little and cared for.

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