Now that my oldest is in middle school, it turns out there are other things I love about being a parent that weren't even on my radar when I brought her home from the hospital drowning in her size newborn clothes.
Funny mispronunciations and misunderstandings.
My oldest daughter used to exclaim "Hodey Modey!" ('holy moly') when surprised, and complain of "hicking up" when she couldn't stop hiccuping. My preschooler asks if she can help me "download the dishwasher." In our house, when you're 8 you learn to use the washing machine and do your own laundry; I was once asked by one of our small children if grandma is a grown-up because she washes her own clothes.
Finding collections in unusual places.
When I have to sidestep a pile of rocks on the porch steps, I get a kick out of trying to guess who collected them and why. What was this person's criteria for gathering these particular rocks, and not the other identical-looking 2,416 rocks in our yard? The world may never know.
Recently I found a motherlode of acorn caps in our washing machine that my preschooler had been hiding in her pockets. She said she was keeping them because they were her "cleaning bots." I have no idea what those are.
Discovering elaborate set-ups.
When I go into my kids' rooms after they've been in there playing by themselves for a while, I never know what I'm going to find. Sometimes that's bad, like when I find they've been filling up their toy cups and bowls with water from the bathroom sink and their carpet is soaked. But usually, it's pretty hilarious. I once found a long eraser lovingly tucked under a doll blanket on a decorative silver dish. I like trying to imagine what play scenario led to whatever I'm seeing in front of me.
Hearing their conversations with each other.
Some of my all-time favorite moments are passing by a doorway and catching a snatch of conversation between two kids having a heated argument over the best way to build a time machine. Or brainstorming whether there's a way to get a letter to heaven (the consensus was that you'd have to kill the mailman while he was holding it.) Or sometimes it's really sweet, hearing them help or explain something to the other.
The writing prompts they bring home from school.
One of my all-time favorite things about having elementary schoolers is seeing the work they bring home from school. On the 100th day of school, my kids were asked what it will be like when they're 100 years old. My son, knowing that you get stronger as you get older (but not knowing that the process stops at some point,) wrote that when he was 100 he would lift a car.
How will they fill in the blanks when given the prompt "My mom ______________"? It's so eye-opening to see how the world from their perspective. (It can also be embarrassing that theirs is the only lens through which the teacher sees you and your family, but I digress.)
Watching them become awesome people.
It kind of blows my mind that my oldest kids are now becoming these cool people that are fun to talk to, which I logically knew would happen at some point but it was hard to visualize back when I was wiping their butts. They can ask deeper and more meaningful questions than "Can I have a snack?" and seem genuinely interested in getting to know me as more than the keeper of the fruit snacks. I'm excited to see what kind of lives they make for themselves as adults, and I can't wait to interact with them as a friend instead of telling them what to do all the time. Once they're grown, their messy room will be their own problem.
Being a parent is great for all the reasons I imagined it would be, but it's even got some surprise perks that I never thought about before I had kids. What are your unexpected favorites?