Standing by the front window with my coat on and purse in hand, I waited for my husband's car to turn in the driveway. Our 15-month-old twins had ear infections—again—and had been fussy all day. John, 5, and Chris, 3, were fighting over a toy, and Allison, 8, was whining. When I saw my husband's car, I bolted out the door.
"Honey, I love you and I love the kids, but they're fussing and they're all yours now!" I exclaimed as I popped in the driver's seat. "I'll be back when I'm sure they're all asleep!"
I headed to the mall, spending the next several hours in sweet solitude, without anyone pulling on my body or needing me. Does anyone else feel like they're dripping with babies? I wondered.
A few years later, I again found myself at the front window. This time I was waiting for my 14-year-old daughter to come home from school. I never knew what kind of mood my teens were going to be in when they hit the front door after school.
Today, I'm at the front window again—but this time with great excitement. My three college kids are arriving home, and joining us for a family dinner will be their big brother home from England and their big sister and her husband with our first grandchild, baby Caroline!
Through 26 years of parenting—with its many stages and phases—I've learned three important lessons that have helped me in this awesome task of character-building and nurturing:1