We have officially entered the years of parenting that I have looked forward to for years. I call them “The in-between Years.” The relatively easy years in between irrational toddlers and being held hostage by naptime, when your child needs you for every part of life, and the hormonal teenage years, when your child may pretend you don’t exist. Don’t get me wrong, we have plenty of tween attitude, but for the most part, my 7 and 9 year olds can dress, bathe and feed themselves, entertain themselves and each other safely, and follow directions (if they want to.) They are *mostly* rational and can *usually* be reasoned with. They thoroughly enjoy themselves when they are on family vacations and otherwise spending time with family, and don’t seem to tire of their family members. Social media and screens have not yet become the focus of their lives, and they enjoy telling their parents all of the details of their lives.
My husband and I are working hard not to take for granted the joy in the simpleness of our days. Having 2 sports-obsessed boys, we spend our days talking about who got traded to which basketball team, and the impact that will have on their beloved NBA teams. We discuss the next big event in Dogman’s crazy experiences, and how much each and every basketball card in their beloved collections are worth. My boys are convinced they will one day be playing professional basketball. I love that at their ages, they are filled with confidence and are fearless that these dreams will become reality. The hopes and dreams they have at this stage seem to them to be totally possible opportunities if they work hard enough.
We are loving the days that are not yet influenced by peer pressure, crushes, or worry about GPAs. While these days seem carefree, they are so important, so we are savoring them. These are the foundational days where we feel like it is important for us to build trust with our children and to help them feel appreciated and known. These days are still filled with “I love you, mom,” and even holding hands in public while walking. My youngest has a very strong need for physical affection, and when he is playing with his brother or watching TV, he will often seek me out every so often and ask for a hug. He is able to voice his need for some connection. His older brother has some different needs. He prefers to spend some quality time together, even requesting me to watch him build LEGO’s or shoot baskets can fill his bucket and help him to feel loved.
These days often feel like our boys are running circles around us as we head to practices, sporting events, school functions, and community events. The flurry of activities can be a bit overwhelming, but I am attempting to store up all of the experiences in my soul and treasure each experience, hard experiences included, as they are all contributing to the fabric of our family life and we are seeking to be intentional, even in these “easy” in-between years.
Photos by Laura Friedberg Photography