Friday, August 17, 2012

The Evolution of a Family

A friend's blog this morning has me reflecting on the stages of life we go through as parents and families. As we prepare to start anew with BB, I can't help but pause to think about all the wonderful memories we've made so far on this wonderful journey together. Ten years married and nine years of parenting has been quite an evolution.

Steven and I didn't sleep a wink the night of our wedding. Get your mind out of the gutter! THAT isn't what I'm talking about. We had just enjoyed a beautiful day and we were too excited about our future together to sleep. Instead, we dreamed about what the future would be like for our family. Neither of us saw our family of two as complete. We talked about Tasha and that magical day when she would rejoin us. We talked about the babies we would have. Our rose coloured glasses were firmly in place, as they should be for newlyweds.

I think I've blocked out much of those upsidedown first few months after Jonas was born. I do remember the extreme fatigue and almost total abscence of self-confidence, but what fills my heart is the memory of falling in love with my baby. The joys of watching him learn and grow is almost as visceral to me as realizing that my own identity as a mother, as well as ours as a family, is evolving right along with him.

After years of longing for it, we were exuberant when Tasha actively joined our little tribe a few years after Jonas was born. Before then, there was a distinct hole in our family, a spacesaver that was hers and hers alone. Just like when we two became three, the addition of cherished family member number four was the catalyst for the re-creation of our family. The uncertainly of trying to establish a strong family bond with a teenager who you haven't grown into parenting is much like those first few months as newly minted parents. The bumps along the way are more than outweighed by the process of discovering who this wonderful young woman is. Our family has been so enriched by that experience that it's almost as if it was meant to be that way. Watching her enter the world of adulthood and striking out on her own, is an entirely new joy that isn't the end of parenthood, but rather an entirely new stage. I now understand what people mean when they say that parenting never ends, it just evolves.

I'm so excited about the new chapter our family is about to enter. I think it's safe to say that we all are. We've already moved into a phase of transition. In some ways, it's a repeat of a chapter we thought we were finished with, but it's so much more than that. It already is another time of re-creation of our ever-evolving family. Just the thought of it make my heart swell with overwhelming love for these amazing people who I am proud to call my family.


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