Only A Child

I expect a lot of my children. I always have. I firmly believe that children can and will rise to realistic expectations parents set for them. There is so much they can (and should) do for themselves. There is great joy that comes from independence, and I wholeheartedly believe in giving children the opportunity to experience that joy by getting out of the way. I’ve seen countless times that by expecting more means more will come.

And then there are the moments. The quiet moments that remind me in the purest ways that they are still only children. Like when I check on W before I go to bed and find him nuzzled in next to all of his “friends.” A little blonde head in a sea of stuffed faces looking up at me. Or when M brings me a bedtime story that I used to read to her as a toddler instead of our usual chapter book. The memories come flooding back. Or when Baby J says “hold you,” or I find him quietly reading and singing to himself. It’s in those moments that I realize that the ability to see them as true children is just as important as setting my expectations high.

Because a pudgy little arm

A request for a push on the swings

One more hug before the lights go out

A head on my shoulder

The joy in watching a squirrel or a bird

A question about the actual size of infinity

Climbing into my lap

Or asking what day tomorrow will be

These are all moments that remind me of who they are, where they are, and where I need to be. Parenting is a dance between keeping the bar high, expecting a lot, and knowing when to fold. The songs might be different, but the dance is the same. I’ll do it a thousand times over and still never get enough.

Find the joy,


Jessica McCauley, M.Ed. is a parenting coach/consultant. She draws on her background as a Montessori educator and Child Life Specialist to help families navigate the challenges of the early childhood years. Contact Jessica at for more information or to schedule a consultation.