Monday, April 5, 2010

The Magic and the Misery of 3

I was thinking this morning about one of my good friends and a story she told me about her son's obsession with a stuffed animal. The story is not important -- just a little boy's intense love for an inanimate object and the made-up adventures he created for the two of them, and his mother's subsequent delight in her only child's imagination -- but it got me thinking about my three kids. In particular, it got me wondering whether or not I'm able to fully delight in their creativity... if maybe the very fact that I have three kids means my delight is split three ways; and thus, each child only receives a third of the delight that they're due.

My oldest child is blogging and it took me a few days to recognize how incredible that is. Not only did she think about what she wanted to blog about, but she went to the website and figured out how to do it. Without me. I should be uber-delighted (and I am), but that's the thing with three kids, at least for me: in the midst of cleaning up after all of them, making sure they've eaten, checking homework, nagging at them to wash their hands and brush their teeth, it takes me a little while to focus and get my priorities straight. It takes some time for me to quiet down and get to that place of delight for each individual.

Is that what it's like with just one kid? I only had a single child for 11 months, and I was pregnant for 9 of those months. I don't know how it is to be quiet and listen intently to just one little voice without the chatter of others, all voices wanting to be heard and understood at the same time. That's the misery, I suppose...

But the magic is in the alchemy of watching three people, each of whom shared my body with me for a brief 9 months, walk on the earth, becoming who they need to be, navigating the microcosm of society within their own family. There are times when I see them out in the world and using the tools they've learned from a multi-sibling family: patience, sharing, waiting for a turn, shrugging off petty disappointments, making new friends quickly.

So maybe this is my issue. I'll just have to do what I can to give them more than just 33.3% of my delight as much as possible. Just to even the odds.

1 comment:

  1. Being outnumbered means extra effort on our part to ensure that each of our kids gets individual attention. Still, it's even more potential for delight!