Unfettered

I’ve been researching and writing about potty-training for my job, and I’m thinking back to when we were potty-training Eleanor. I remember little, except that it was a mess. We wanted to have her in underwear before we brought home Genevieve. We also transitioned her to a bed, very much against her will, so that the crib would be available. When we came home from the hospital, I regretted all of it. I wanted back her babyhood.

That year of Eleanor being 2 feels lost. Each day, I got out of bed, took a shower, cried, and pondered whether a mother so sad could raise an emotionally healthy child. Sometimes I wonder whether Eleanor’s sensitive nature stems from that period.

We took fewer photos and fewer videos. In our sitting room, we have a collection of candid family photos on the wall, and there is a picture from every year of Eleanor’s life except that year.

Now that Henry is nearly that same age, I am realizing how much joy I missed. I still have a lot of parenting years in front of me, but the toddler years are my favorite so far. Even with Eleanor, during that horrific time, I loved taking care of a toddler. They have such big personalities, and their goals are so far beyond their capabilities. For all of those parents lamenting the terrible twos, I will take your 2-year-olds. I will take the tantrums and the mispronounced words and the slobbery kisses.

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Henry is obsessed with Santa Claus, and more than once, he has shouted “Santa!” in public while pointing to a white-haired man. When I ask what he wants for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, the answer is usually cashews. And he believes that every problem can be fixed with a screwdriver. “Drivers” happen to be his favorite toy, and he often carries three or four around the house.

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I am so fortunate to get to do this toddler phase again without the fog of grief clouding everything. And I am hopeful that I will remember more this time around. If not, I have this.

One thought on “Unfettered

  1. Ben was 19 months when Lydie died and I feel much the same way. It was so difficult to be present for him. It was so hard to be present period. He is the reason I got out of bed everyday, but man was it hard to get up.

    I am also so glad the heaviest grief has lifted and I can be more emotionally available to my two living children. Those early grief days were so rough.

    I try to write down ben’s quotes, try to remember how lovable and funny he is. Henry sounds much the same!

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