Archive for July 16, 2009

Selfish Parenting

I think most young couples struggle with the ups and downs of baby fever. Stephen and I are closing in on the 2 year mark so it’s been a natural conversation for us to have for quite some time now. Are we ready? Is anyone actually ready? Some months we are relieved, other months we are devastated. It usually depends on the current stress level in our lives. What if I enjoy being selfish with my time? I like sleeping in on Saturdays. I like being able to go on weekend trips. It’s hard enough to figure out what to do with Rookie while we are gone. But I’m going to be an aunt in January, and wouldn’t baby Rosenhagen want a cousin to grow up with? And we are going to have kids eventually, why not now?

See. Back and forth. Do I want to be selfish for a while long? Or am I ready to focus on babies?

This weekend we were in Galveston, experiencing our first stay at the Bella Rose. In the short time we were there, we were able to go to the beach twice. We went to The Strand. We had a glorious Whataburger breakfast taquito. We had Frosty’s from Wendy’s. We did a lot. And all the while, we kept thinking about how great this was going to be when we had kids. We can’t wait to take them to the candy store on The Strand for the first time and see their eyes light up when they see the man making taffy. We could picture ourselves walking the short 3 blocks to the beach, hand in hand with our kiddos. It was pretty exciting.

Both times we went to the beach, this young family ended up next to us. They were a cute family. The mom was this tiny woman who wore a black tankini with a little black skirt and laid on her towel reading. The dad was probably in his early thirties, fit, energetic, and having a great time. They had two daughters, probably around 3 and 5. Grandma was there helping out on Saturday. Sunday, she and the little one stayed in. They were fun to watch. The girls would sprint into the water and giggle hysterically when the waves crashed on their ankles. They were intoxicating to watch. I’d glance back and forth from the little girls jumping over waves with their dad to Stephen (much further out) jumping over waves.

Once he made his way back in, he began contructing his hollow dome. At this point, the family was building a sand castle villiage. “Look Stephen. Look how cute they are! They are making sand castles!” We watched a bit closer. The girls would run back and forth from mom to dad, showing them shells. Every now and then one of the girls would gently pat a sand castle so she would feel like she’s helping.

Stephen looked back at me, “Only the dad is building them.”

He was right. But I think that’s how it’s supposed to go when they are that age. There is no doubt in my mind that those little girls genuinely believed that they built those. They’ll probably tell their friends about the sand castle villiage they build with their dad. I looked at Stephen, completely devoted to his hollow castle… and then at the dad, completely devoted to the 14th castle… I looked at the mom, reading her book between interruptions to look at broken sand dollars. And then I looked down at the two books I had on the towel.

Who says you can’t work your children into your selfishness?

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July 16, 2009 at 8:51 am 16 comments


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