We've been going through old pictures and came across this picture of Miguel taken when he was two. I remember those overalls so well, remember the feel of his fat little feet as I strapped them into those sandals. Just looking at the picture, I can almost feel the stickiness of his skin from the heat of summer, popsicles and playing in the grass. Life was simpler then. One kid, two parents - those are some good odds.
Our struggles were simpler then. The biggest challenge was his tendency to dart away from us in crowds and crossing the street. We were always able to catch him and carry him back.
I was tempted to write that he was simpler then but I know that's not true. We just hadn't yet seen all of who he was becoming.
We still haven't seen all of who he is and that is part of the gift of having kids. You get to watch a person become themselves.
Of course, there are days when I don't think it's a gift at all. I want to know how the kids turn out. I want to fly ahead to the future and assess the outcome. Are they loved? Are they kind? Are they happy? Do they play too many video games because their mother was a lousy example with all her blogging and social media shenanigans? At least, I know they won't be eating Twinkies.
I look at that chubby little boy in the picture and I miss him a little bit. I also miss the mother I was then - a little less tired, a little more present, a little less worried.
But then, I look at the boy I have now and think he's pretty great too. He is insightful and smart and gets sarcasm and makes me laugh every day. He also takes a shower by himself which is a gift too.
When I spend enough time with my kids, as I did this past week, I realize that I don't need to know the end of the story before it happens. I just need to enjoy it and remember that I'm not telling it alone.