I am enjoying the best years of my life so far. I have a husband who loves being a family man, I have great friends, a supportive church family, and I LOVE being a mom. I'm not saying life is easy with two preschoolers and one income, but it is definitely good. Especially when I compare it to the years that led me here.
Let's face it: growing up is hard. Being a kid is not as great as we romanticize it to be. It's certainly not "sugar and spice and everything nice," as the saying goes. I remember it being pretty hard work. I went to four different elementary schools, so making friends (and keeping them) was challenging. Remember how mean some little girls in school were? I do.
Believe it or not, as a kid, I was a bit shy. I was always kind to everyone, and my mom remembers that I never laid a hand on another kid. In 4th, 5th, AND 6th grades (all three were different schools), three different girls tried to pick a fight with me. I refused to hit back. I remember thinking, in all of those instances, "Why me? What did I ever do to you?"
The answer is: Nothing. I doubt any of them could have answered that question, had it been posed to them at the time. They were just angry girls. All three were class bullies. By the time the girl in 6th grade tried to pick a fight with me (in the girls' locker room), I had learned to deflect such attentions with big talk and good posture. This girl was known as a fighter and just loved getting up in other girls' faces to intimidate them. She had her finger thrust in my face, talking junk, trying to start something with me.
I was absolutely quaking, but I stood up really tall (I was much taller than her), looked her right in the eye, and said, with surprising strength, "Get your finger out of my face. I really don't want to fight you."
She walked away. I thought I would throw up.
That was the end of girls trying to fight me, but making and keeping friends still didn't get any easier. High school brought its share of social challenges and the added pressures of "dating." I managed to steer clear of a lot of that, mostly because my mom just didn't allow me to date until I was sixteen, and then because I got really involved in community theater. This passion swallowed me whole!
College was a whirlwind for me, with no time for friends. When Paul and I got married, we hadn't been back in our hometown for a full year, and I had spent all of that time in my first teaching position and planning a wedding. I didn't have much time to socialize. My sisters were my bridesmaids. I had lost contact with my high school friends and really didn't get into the social scene of college. I worked through college and went to class. That pretty much consumed me.
Now, I am enjoying the best friends I have ever known in my life. My friends are mostly all moms with kids the same age as my kids. We're all on the same roller coaster ride, which gives us plenty to talk about! These are easy, natural friendships, and we enjoy watching our children form friendships that will hopefully last a long time. Maybe it will be easier for them...maybe.
The learning curve you're on as a kid is unparalleled to any other time in your life. The only thing that comes close to that learning curve (so far) is becoming a parent. We have a tendency to see more clearly in hindsight, so the fact that I can say, without a doubt and with crystal clear vision, that these are the BEST years yet...that's pretty powerful!