Sometimes, as I have blogged before and will most certainly blog again, being a mom is Not Fun. It is sometimes Hard But Good Work.
But other times, it is really fun.
I don’t think I really got this before having kids. I knew I wanted to have children, wanted to have a family that grew together, knew I would love the stage when my kids were old enough to be friends. But I didn’t expect the fun of this stage. I knew there would be sweet joy and tender moments, but I didn’t expect the fun of hanging out with my baby.
My sister-in-law and I were talking recently, and she mentioned that someone made a comment recently about how it was “lame” that her husband wanted to hang out with their kids on Saturday mornings while she left to do a pilates class. Before having kids, I would have applauded the noble husband for giving his wife a break. But now, not only do I emphatically insist that husbands aren’t babysitters, but I know the truth: you want to hang out with your kids, even young ones. Because they are fun.
Henry is experiencing the world for the first time and it is BLOWING HIS MIND. He recently realized that he actually knows his way around our apartment and can transport himself from one room to another to find things he likes. He gets so excited about crawling into a new room, and we are not above crawling alongside him to explore the fascinating world of our 980 square foot apartment. He learned that he can take all the books off his shelf and shake them open, flipping pages and looking at pictures. He loves to swing and go down slides and be tossed high in the air. He loves to laugh, to catch balls, to make silly faces and splash. I love him, but I also like hanging out with him. He is uncomplicated and his joy is pure, his fun complete.
Let me tell you what ruins this fun: too often I forget to just play with him. I try to multi-task, or check my phone, or stress about what I “should” be doing. Then what was fun becomes work. Obviously, life can’t be an endless stream of park dates and book chewing. Sometimes I have to sit on the floor and grade behind his back while he crawls in piles of puzzle pieces. Sometimes I respond to student emails as he plays at my feet, or fold laundry next to him. But I have learned to love the fun of playing with my boy, rather than just shepherding him through his day. He is an excellent teacher.
This long weekend was so good to us. The weather was unreal, and even though I still spent all of Saturday afternoon working, we had a lot of fun. We trekked this boy around Capitol Hill, played at the park, crawled in front of the Capitol, and spent lots of time giggling around the house. (And yes, I did wear the same shirt Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Not ashamed.)
Children are hope. They are work. They are purpose. They are an investment. They are a sanctifying challenge. They are exhausting. They are love.
But they are also fun, and I don’t ever want to forget that.