Wednesday, October 3, 2018

When Your Most Difficult Child Becomes The Easiest

People warned me it would happen. I just didn't believe them. I firmly believed things couldn't be changed, it was the natural order of our family. Then, one day not long ago, as I did the simple task of making our grocery list, it flashed in front of me: our middle child, the child who gave me gray hair, was now our easiest child.

Let me give you some back story. Our middle child was born with a glint in his eyes and a get up and go kind of attitude. He reminded me very much of my Grandma Ann, who was known for her early rising (supposedly from being raised on our farm) and singing "Good morning to you!" long before the rest of the world was awake. That was our Harrison to a tee. As soon as his eyes open for the day, he's up and ready to take on the world (and win it). He's been this way since the day he was came into this world with a scream.

As a baby he was happy and difficult. He never slept, never allowed me to get anything done, and never wanted to be away from me. He crawled at 4 months old, climbed anything and everything by 6 months, was in a toddler bed at a year old because he climbed out of his crib and played at all hours of the day and night. He walked out our front door into the street within seconds at 18 months and nearly left the house one night at 2 a.m. because he didn't want to sleep (lucky, I just had his baby sister and had fallen asleep on the couch so he was caught before he successfully escaped). He got caught on a fence, tried to ride a tricycle and roller skates down the slide, chipped his front teeth right in front of us and we didn't realize it until hours later all before he was two. He dialed 911 (twice) and got his picture with a police officer. He's the kid that says "just watch" or "I have a surprise" and your first thought is "oh shit" and your pulse instantly quickens. He's not the one that makes the trouble, it just seems to find him. Every day of his life.

On this particular day, I was making our weekly menu and grocery list for the store. I asked the other family members if there was anything they'd like to add to the list, anything they needed or wanted. Three of them piped up with demands for crackers, cookies, origami paper, new shoes with heels, gloves, lotion, a new shirt from Old Navy, etc. I rolled my eyes and added a few of the needed items to the list. I turned to the middle mini and asked if he had any requests.

"No mommy, your list sounds just fine to me!" he replied, kissing me on my cheek. The only person in our family of five to say so.

I smiled at him and reminded him to unload the dishwasher. There was an exaggerated groan, but he did it without being asked twice. I realized then, as I looked at a suddenly big eight year old before me, how low maintenance he had become. My child that I once spent all of my time with (literally, every minute or every day until I broke), who I had to watch like a hawk, who I spent all of my time worrying about was an independent, happy, loving, and now easy going kid.

I then tried to pin point when it had happened. It surely didn't happen overnight, as I realized he has been this way for a while now. It happened just as these things do, gradually, quietly, without ever letting on a change was happening. The tantrums, outbursts, and craziness had gone away and I didn't even enjoy it while it happened! I'm fairly certain that should have been my reward for the last eight(ish) years. But alas, it was missed. Will he always be low maintenance now? I wondered, as I keep in the back of my mind that the preteen years are coming up.

How did I miss this clear change happening? The kid isn't without drama, I assured myself of that. He's still the same greet-the-day-ready-to-go kid who was out the door and covered in mud before 8 a.m. every day this past summer. I'm certain he'll always carry the knack to keep me on my toes. In many ways he's still the same boy he's always been. But there's a maturity that has come over him, but he'll still laugh hysterically at the word fart, so there's that. 

I really didn't think this "event" would ever hit our house. I'm a tad crabby I missed out on that glorious change because it would have been celebrated (maybe I could give back some of the gray hairs he gave me. I'm totally good making a ceremony out of it). Instead, I'll sit back and enjoy this blissfulness now, before the preteen and teen years head our way. I'll probably be up late worrying once again and my hair grayer all from my former most difficult child.