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Archive for Sunday, May 14, 2006

Siblings help mother rediscover herself

May 14, 2006

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Despite what some people in this state might have you believe, my children are evolving creatures. They reveal their personalities day by day, bit by bit, in literal fits and spurts.

They may be created from the same gene pool, but their differences run deep.

At the playground, big sister enjoys making friends and talking with others just as much as sliding and swinging, while little brother wants to run faster, climb higher, slide again and again.

When it's time for a haircut, big sister sits calmly, while little brother literally has to be held down.

On the nature trail, little brother races ahead into the great unknown, while big sister holds my hand as she walks slowly and cautiously, nervously aware of every chirp, crunch and snap in the woods.

Big sister is a piece of work, at times stubborn and impatient, at other times serious and studious. She takes things quite literally but knows how to have a good giggle, too. As she has inched closer to 4, she's becoming a bit more understanding.

Little brother is still revealing his persona, which generally is pleasant but has its 2-year-old moments. Crowds and noise make him retreat into his shell, but give him a ball and a basket and life is perfect.

In the time that I've known these two kids, I've tried to glean what I can about their inner psyches. The most important thing I've learned, however, is that there's no changing them.


Journal-World copy editor Susie Fagan and her children, Max, nearly 2, left, and Erin, who turns 4 today, horse around on the stairs at the family's home.

Journal-World copy editor Susie Fagan and her children, Max, nearly 2, left, and Erin, who turns 4 today, horse around on the stairs at the family's home.

And in the process of revealing themselves to me, my children help me learn and rediscover more about myself. Now I know that swinging really, really high is still fun, eating a popsicle is indeed a treat and cleaning up someone else's vomit without becoming ill myself is possible (but barely).

They also remind me that it's OK to be myself. They haven't encountered many social situations where they feel like they have to act a certain way or do a certain thing just to fit in. They are who they are, and that's that.

Somewhere along the line that will change, but for now I admire their confidence - plus ignorant bliss - and hope that they are strong enough to maintain that.

Their personalities likely will bend a bit, but I doubt they'll break. And as they grow and evolve, so do I as a mom. What worked a few weeks ago for me may not feel right today, and what works today may not feel right tomorrow.

But they help me feel confident in my decisions. I know that even when I screw up in parenting or other parts of my life - as I have many times - it's not the end of the world. I'm still their mom.

The best parenting advice I've received came from a dear friend who, before my children were born, told me to trust my instincts because as a parent I would know my children better than anyone else.

And in these four years I've learned that they know me pretty well, too.

- Copy editor Susie Fagan will cede the Mother's Day spotlight this year to daughter Erin, who turns 4 today. Son Max is almost 2.

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