Earning My Stripes

Anniversaries, birthdays, seasons . . . . we are in a constant cycle of counting and reminicing and marking the passage of time and the tallying of accomplishments. My husband and I just celebrated our wedding anniversary this week, which got me thinking about all the things that we celebrate over time. The obvious (wonderful) list is:

37+ years of a pretty darn good life
16 years together as a couple with my husband
11 years of marriage
10 years in our house
7 years as parents
3 adorable boys

Then there is the other list.

The one that tallies our “accomplishments”; the list that tracks the stripes we parents earn! You know that anniversary I mentioned? It coincided with the latest ER visit — our almost 8 year old crashed [fell off the breakfast bar stool] and split open his head [like a scene out of the old tv series “ER”, blood was flowing fast] sending us to the ER for staples instead of settling in for a relaxing dinner at home after the kids went to bed!

While I obviously wish that this was a short list, it somehow marks the moments that I feel best about my parenting skills. I am pretty good about rising to the occasion (if I do say so myself) when accidents happen or illness strikes. I don’t question my parenting skills in these situations! So not the happy list like the one above, this other list also makes me proud [in a warped way]:

2 ER trips for broken bones
1 ER trip for a stitched up forehead
1 pediatrician visit to glue together head
1 ER trip for staples in the head
1 ER trip for croup
COUNTLESS pediatrician visits for croup, ear infections, sinus infections and asthma…
COUNTLESS specialist visits for hearing loss, food allergies and pronating feet…
Hours wondering around CVS waiting for presriptions to be filled.
A fortune spent on co-pays, hearing aids, orthotics and antibiotics!

If only I could channel my nurturing and calm into the mundane, every day stuff of parenting like enforcing rules, ensuring homework gets done and kids get bathed, preparing interesting meals and making sure the kids don’t destroy the house or each other . . . for that stuff, I have no patience. So while hoping my kids don’t get hurt anymore, I will secretly relish in those moments where I earned my stripes.

2 thoughts on “Earning My Stripes”

  1. Jennifer – I really like the way that you write. I have noticed your passion for text (even in your wall posts.) This is probably because I too love to write. There is something very cathartic about putting your thoughts on paper. You have earned your stripes because you love your children, and your husband, and you appreciate all that is your life. You have earned your stripes because you were there for your kids when they needed you. You earned your stripes because your feelings for your kids and husband show in every post that you author. It is refreshing to see someone who thinks about the content of her post, and does not post the inane, unlike so many others. Your family is truly fortunate to have you, but then again, they already know that! You are a minority of people, and I am very happy to see (for what it`s worth) that you don`t take it for granted.

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