Sunday, November 18, 2007

Counting My Blessings

This week was a landmark occasion in the Fox household - we got to visit with BOTH grandmothers in one week. With my family in Texas and my husband's in Utah, visits with our parents are carefully orchestrated. While the in laws get along famously, since we see each other so infrequently everyone tries to space the visits so that the grandmothers see the children on alternating trips. This way they each have time to hog the kids to their hearts content without stepping on each other's toes.

Because we spent Thanksgiving with Bubbe (Aaron's mom) and Goopy (my mom - long story on the origination of the name) came to visit for her birthday in mid-November, we had the rare pleasure of a solid week and a half worth of grandmothering. I personally enjoy these visits for two reasons - free babysitting, of course, but more importantly - I get to see my kids in a new light.

The past three years of our lives have been a whirlwind, to say the least. We have been eating, breathing, and sleeping (or not) diapers, formula, baby gear, baby proofing, and baby puking for what seems like a very long time. It has been absolutely exhausting. Worth every moment, but exhausting nonetheless. When Drew was a tiny baby, I remember holding him and trying to MAKE myself slow down and savor every moment. But I was just too tired. And too busy trying to hold it all together.

Enter visits with the grandparents. With someone to play backup, we can sneak a respite from the constant caregiving. To have date nights. To sleep in. To go to the bathroom uninterrupted. To relax and unwind a little. To (gasp!) ENJOY our children.

In the grandparents' eyes, the boys can do no wrong. Cade's repeated pleas to play Elmo on computer make him "goal oriented and persistent" instead of annoying. Drew's crayon marks on the windowsill become a "creative use of art medium". When they sass me they are just "testing boundaries and asserting independence". Their refusal to eat any dinner that isn't mac and cheese make them "selective" eaters, not finicky ones. Drew's 50 million piece jigsaw puzzles strewn all over my living room floor at all hours of the day encourages the fact that he is "advanced in spatial orientation". Cade's obsession with changing batteries in every toy we own shows his "mechanical inclination". My mother even went so far as to correct me when I joked that he was in training to be an auto mechanic someday - huffily informing me that his fine motor skills were far better suited to brain surgery.

But all joking aside, their constant marveling at how smart, creative, unique, energetic, independent, and GOOD the kids are make me forget for a time that they are also messy, demanding, wild and defiant at times. It allows me to slow down and really savor the small joys in life through the eyes of my kids - Cade's love of fountains, Drew's love of animals, and their mutual love of each other - and of me. During these visits, they whine less, act out less, and demand less. Probably because I give them more of me.

So this Thanksgiving, I am grateful for the miracles of my children. And their grandparents, who are responsible for this blessing in more ways than one.