Looks like been doing more parenting posts lately. Just what’s on my mind, I guess. I considered starting a new blog for parenting because the rule-follower in me is screaming that this is a blog about Orthodox Judaism.

But the creative me is telling RF to stop yelling already because it’s my blog and I can write whatever I want, and the practical me is siding with Creative and reminding RF that we all don’t really want to recruit a whole bunch of new followers for a new blog. So there.

So with our youngest daughter having just turned six, more and more thoughts have been surfacing about how very very much we are enjoying her. Maybe even more than any of the others at this age. Also how very very lucky this child is to be a youngest of, thank G-d, lots of loving siblings.

I know being the youngest is hard sometimes; no one takes you seriously and you’re always considered the baby. But there are some major benefits.

For one thing, we’re way more chilled.

When I was a young mom, I often worried about doing the right thing by our kids. Rules vs. breaking them, love and discipline, healthy food vs. treats, sleep schedules vs. letting them slide. After having raised other kids and being in the saddle for 21 years, I’m so much more chilled out as a parent. We just go with the flow. The stakes aren’t so high after all. Big deal if the kid gets too much junk food. Let’s just call it dinner and make it a day.

Which also means we laugh more when things get off track because we’re not so concerned about doing it right. We’re confident that we won’t break our kids, and they relish in that security.

Another plus is my renewed appreciation for each stage, something I really didn’t fully get in my early, overwhelmed mom years.

I’m not gonna lie and say all those annoying things about hurry and enjoy your kids because it flies by. It DOESN’T FLY BY WHEN THEY’RE LITTLE. It crawls, often cruelly. But what having adult kids and teens does for me is help me realize how heavenly this stage is. Even with the whining and the bathrooming issues and the occasional bad dream in the middle of the night.

When they’re six, they still adore you. You still are their all-wise parent Who Knows Everything. You can still make everything better with the right words and a big snuggle and a little ice cream.

You look at their heavenly little faces and bright innocent eyes and oh, something twists in your heart because you know, you know for real and not theoretically, that it ends and how brief and ephemeral life is and you just want to fold up these sweet, loving dependent beings and protect them, and you, from it all.

So you don’t hurry the park trips or the grocery store trips or the play dates because this is it and you know it with a real hard truth in a way you never did. And even if you never were that sentimental sappy parent…you become it.

I cry more. I laugh more. I understand life and its fragility more. I understand which memories matter and which don’t. I have learned from my mistakes and, incredibly, have the beautiful chance to apply it. Each hug, each kiss, each outing is tinged with meaning.

And for this, I am grateful.