It’s 4:44 am and I can’t believe I’m 1) awake and 2) sitting in front of a computer. I’m the good sleeper of our marriage, which means I sleep through any middle of the night wake up (yes including when they are newborns and sleeping next to my side of the bed, my husband is a saint), can nap when the kids nap, and need a forklift to get me out of bed every morning. There’s currently a heatwave in Maine, and we don’t have any AC so we’ve been sleeping with the windows open, so today I woke up with all the birds singing, absolutely sure it was at least 6 am. After checking the clock and realizing I was up at least two hours before everyone wakes up, I decided to get some coffee and hit my to-do list that seems never-ending always.
For those of you who follow me on social, you know that my parents are finally here to see us. Despite being 70+ years old and very patient, they hadn’t been vaccinated by the end of April, so they decided to come to the US to get the Pfizer vaccine (if you follow me you also know my dad had an incredible career with the company, so we are very much team Pfizer over here) and finally see their grandchildren. I’m an only child and therefore these are their only grandchildren to play and visit with, which comes with a gigantic amount of guilt because I decided to start a family so far away from them (12 hours by plane, to be exact), but that’s a topic for another day.
They are finally here and it feels both so good and so stressful. Ozzy is over the moon with his abuelos here. He wants nothing but to play and hang out with them. They need to sit next to him at every meal, he has to go potty in their bathroom, they need to read him a story before bed, he demands they do everything with him. Except… They are not used to it. And also, quite honestly, they are too tired sometimes, others too set on their way of living to be as involved as Ozzy would like. So days become a delicate balancing act of keeping everyone happy (including myself) and it can be a lot.
When things line up, like they did yesterday, it’s great. I finally get the whole “it takes a village” thing. When my husband and I can put the twins down for bed together, without having to juggle screaming babies who want to be snuggled for one more second. No running between cribs tucking them in and telling them how much we love them. We both get to be present for Ozzy’s bedtime, reading more than one book and doing family hugs. More importantly, we get to have the time of our own, like yesterday I convinced my husband for us to leave the monitors at max volume next to my parents (as they blasted an even louder Anderson Cooper on TV) and go for a sunset swim in the lake we have less than one minute away. It was magical. It made me feel so alive, so much like myself pre-kids, when we went from one crazy adventure to the next.
However, it’s not always so perfect. I don’t know if it’s generational, cultural, or straight up just my parents, but sometimes they make me wonder how I even survived as a little kid growing up with them. The other morning my mom asked Ozzy if he had had any coffee yet. Ozzy replied he was not allowed, that it was an adult drink only, and my mom proceeded to insist he have some coffee with her. Now, I’m all about my kids experimenting with new flavors, but why would you ever want to give coffee to an already easily excitable toddler? We asked them not to bring us any toys with batteries and sounds and lights (mostly because our home is a constant cacophony of sounds, to begin with). Of course, all the toys they brought our kids, have batteries and make a ton of noise. And of course, our kids love them and only want to play with the new flashy things abuelos brought.
It’s funny, they constantly praise our children for how smart and kind they are but at the same time totally disregard our parenting style, at times calling it incredible strict (I disagree, especially after they raised me, they have no idea how strict they were compared to us).
But the love, the absolute love they have for all three of them is sometimes overwhelming to watch. In a good way. I know they would do anything for them (in their slow walking, can’t pick up heavy things, don’t ask me to get in the water with you, way they have). That all they want is to live another day to see them even taller, funnier, more engaging than the day before.
So this is all basically a reminder to myself, in the next couple of weeks when my parents drive me nuts for whatever new thing they are doing (like teaching Ozzy how to pretend to smoke a stick, which… I KNOW) that they don’t get to enjoy my children as much or as often as they should and want to. That this visit is for them, not for me. And when we can, and as often as we can, we should take the advantage to go on dates with my husband, because we deserve it and because it truly takes a village.