Friday, May 27, 2011

Life in Even Numbers

My 7-year-old recently turned 8. That means that in a few short months my 5-year-old will be turning 6.

I don't know why, but when my kids turn even numbers it strikes me at how quickly these numbers are piling up. Perhaps it's because they are 2 years apart, and when they hit the evens it's easy to remember back to the last set of evens they hit. Maybe it's because I'm easily distracted by patterns and shiny metal objects.

Once they were zero and 2.

Then 2 and 4.

4 and 6...

And soon 6 and 8.
Once during one of those previous even years my husband and I were having a heart-to-heart discussion about our parental responsibilities. We were on the phone: he at home after an exhausting day of getting two girls off to school, working all day, then picking them up, making dinner, breaking up fights and continually nagging to get two little girls to bed. I was in a hotel room after returning back from a day that started at 4:30 am and didn't end until a client dinner ended at 10 pm in a different time zone than the one I started the day in.

I said, "It'll get easier when they get older."

He said, "You said that when they were 2 and 4. They are 4 and 6 now. When is this going to get easier?"

And then it struck me, how quickly those two years had gone by. How quickly the next two would go, then the next two, and so on and so forth. I imagined myself attending their high school graduations, wondering where the years had gone and why I hadn't taken a more active role in their lives.

And so I made a career change, to improve not just my own life but that of my family's.

Because before we know it we'll have this:

My niece Rachel and her parents at her HS graduation last weekend.
I first met Rachel when she was 3 -- she will turn 19 this summer and is heading off to college this fall. Her parents are surprised -- not that she's going to college, but that her departure came upon them so quickly.

So I will still be attending my girls' high school graduations wondering where the years had gone, but at least now I can say I was there for them. I go to their concerts, I don't miss their activities and I am able to volunteer in their classrooms.

I am there for them. And that makes me happy.

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