I remember the first few weeks of parenting vividly. You know, that time when most women say they fall helplessly and totally in love with their babies?

Me? Not so much. I kinda thought the whole thing sucked — it was all give, give, give, give.

I felt really guilty about feeling that way and started to think: Oh, crap, maybe I wasn’t supposed to be a mother. Maybe I don’t have that mother gene thing! And yet, here was this new baby who had just made me a mother, so I figured God must have had some kind of plan.

And, then Kelly turned four weeks old and she started recognizing me and smiling (you know, giving me back something), and then…oh, God…did I fall hard.

The smiles, giggles, laughter, and fun were more than enough payment for all the dirty diapers, temper tantrums, wailing, and whining throughout the toddler years.

Then, in grade school, little by little, they became more independent, which was a little heartbreaking at times, but mostly brought some really nice breathing room/freedom (they could buckle themselves into car seats, they could get their own cereal in the morning, they could go do cool stuff with me, etc.). They were still cute, too…and wrote adorable little letters to me in wiggly, blocky print.

But these first years of middle school have reminded me of those first weeks with newborn Kelly — i.e. this kinda blows.  They are frequently snotty and crabby and bratty and they argue/resist every single thing I say. They fight with each other constantly (I had hoped they’d be “best friends” *snort*) And, they’re not as cute as 2nd graders anymore (think: ugly puppy stage).

And then Kelly goes and does something like this (embedded below) that melts my jaded mother-of-two-preteens heart and reminds me that this whole parenting thing will probably be worth it all in the end:  (This is her solo performance on the last day of her College For Kids Glee Club class — she chose the song & the photo in the background).