Caring is Hard

IMG_0485But I care. A lot.

Like most parents, I want the best for my children. But to give them the best means putting my own wants and needs on hold which can be very hard to do. It means putting my phone down, turning my distracted mind off, and interacting with them. It means reading books together when I’d rather not, going for walks when I’d rather not, playing games when I’d rather not. It’s fighting this feeling of not doing anything worthwhile. It’s reminding myself that these are the things that are actually worthwhile. These are the ways to create a fulfilled child. (You know, the whole reason we bring these little people into the world in the first place.)

Just the other day my husband and I received the highest compliment you can get as parents of young kids. A woman sitting near us in a restaurant said that we had lovely children who were so well-behaved. Granted, she might’ve had a little too much vino and we had only been there about 20 minutes before she left, so she saw them in their prime–while the crayons were still keeping them busy and the sugar from their chocolate milks hadn’t kicked in yet. Nonetheless, I stood up to accept my parent of the year award and to make a heartfelt speech about sacrifice and selflessness to our fellow diners. Kidding. We thanked her and then snickered that boy had we fooled her.

Why should I care what this complete stranger thought when I know my kids are well-behaved? I’m well aware of what it’s taken to make them this way–most of my sanity and all of my patience. At least in that moment it felt like my hard work had paid off. I guess that’s what I was thanking her for…for noticing.

I have so much I want to accomplish, yet by the time I’m done trying to mold my mini-mes into self-sufficient decent human beings who feel loved and understood, I’m just too mentally and physically exhausted to do anything but zone out to the world and keep ignoring everything I’ve put on the back burner. So I remind myself that this time in their lives where they actually want me to be a part of everything they do is short-lived and that my time is better spent sharing life with them even if it costs me my own.

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And the Winner is…Me!

totwAnother week has gone by and let me tell you, it was a doozy! And by doozy, I mean it sucked, which in turn made my tweets suck. But that’s how it goes in the parenting tweet writing world, my friends. Some weeks it’s a piece of cake and others it’s a shit sandwich. Here’s hoping we get back to cake. Everyone loves cake.

This week was tough because I’ve been sick. Which got me thinking, most of being a parent is feeling like you’re always coming down with something. I’m at the point where I’ll be surprised once I feel good, not the other way around. But I shouldn’t complain, for the most part we were all healthy for the entire month of February which seems like a miracle. All the hand-sanitizing and vitamin-popping we were doing paid off. Sadly, it all caught up with us and three out of four of us are down. Anyway, maybe a little laughter will bring us back up. Enjoy my top 3 tweets from this past week.

tweets list2

I’m just like any other parent. Happiness and sarcasm are two of life’s most wonderful things. Of course I want my children to grow up to be happy adults who are smart enough to know how to use sarcasm and also so they know how to interpret most of what I say.

tweets list3

See, there’s some of that sarcasm I’m talking about. I don’t really think it’s great that the days are so long that I can’t even remember the beginning of them. Maybe the word I should’ve used was insane because it’s absolutely crazy how much happens in just one day of parenthood.

tweets wk 2

Thank you, Parenthood for teaching me my limits when it comes to children and to booze. Because if there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that kids are their own kind of hangover even when you haven’t been drinking, and parenting with a hangover is the absolute worst thing in the world.

Cheers to another week of tweets!

Tweets of the Week

Some popular sites on Twitter put out these “best of the best” weekly lists so if one of your tweets is chosen and included it’s kind of a big deal (but also not really). Being on these lists and then not being on these lists can take a toll on your tweet-writing confidence (at least it has for me). So I’ve decided to make my own list, damnit! Here are my top 3 tweets from this past week.

tweet#2

Ok, maybe I have my percentages backwards or maybe it’s more like a 50/50 split. One thing I know for sure is that in parenthood there’s always a lot of crap on the floor.

tweet#1

My kids have amazing selective hearing and incredibly poor timing.

tweet#3

Starting immediately! I never knew going to the bathroom alone was a luxury until I became a parent.

Hope you enjoyed this week’s tweets. I’m sure my kids will frustrate inspire me to write even better ones next week.

 

 

Top 10 Movie Titles That Describe Parenthood

Movies! You remember–those things you used to watch before you became a parent. I’m lucky if I get to watch A movie a year these days. I’m not talking about all the children’s movies I have to listen to while doing dishes or folding laundry or picking up toys everywhere. I’m talking about movies with real actors, dialogue instead of sound effects, and an actual plot line. In parenthood, it’s always too late to start a movie, and someone always falls asleep (depending on who got to choose it). Since I haven’t seen anything new, I’ve made a list of my favorites where the titles describe parenthood perfectly.

  1. Dazed & Confused — cause that’s how you wake up every day as a parent.
  2. Reality Bites — cause the reality of parenthood bites compared to what you’d thought it’d be.
  3. Misery — cause even when you’re sick and miserable, you still have to parent.
  4. Groundhog Day — cause every single day you do the exact same thing over and over and over.
  5. There Will Be Blood — cause kids are insane and fall down just standing still.
  6. Clueless — cause that’s how you’ll feel about your parenting skills.
  7. Sleepless in Seattle (or whichever city you live in) — cause you never sleep again.
  8. Fight Club — cause you break up more fights than a referee in a boxing match.
  9. From Dusk till Dawn — cause that’s the only time you get to yourself but you have to spend it trying to sleep.
  10. The Neverending Story — cause anytime your kids tell a story, it’s neverending.

    These are called dvds in case you don’t know

     

Walking Boots

My father grew up walking the country roads of rural Georgia. He spent his childhood walking everywhere–to town, to school, to the neighbor’s farm that was miles away. He passed down his love of walking to me and now I’m hoping to share it with my daughters. They’re finally old enough that we don’t need a stroller anymore, which is nice, but stressful in different ways. They’re loose and I’m outnumbered and there are no sidewalks here and I have to corral them like wild turkeys.

When we were young, my brothers and I went for walks with our dad almost every night after dinner, now that I think about it, it was probably to give my mom a break from our constant noise because normally she stayed behind.

We’d set off on our usual route and along the way I had my small detours like balancing along the bricks of a certain driveway or a shortcut through another. We always passed The Purple Lady’s house, where, I kid you not, every single thing was purple–the house, the car, the flowers, even her hair!

Strolling along, I’d ask Papa to tell me stories from his childhood. Sometimes he’d tell me all about going to school in a tiny one room schoolhouse, walking however many miles with a group of kids he could still name as if he’d seen them the day before. And he’d tell me about the first pair of glasses he got and how he was so amazed he could finally see ants on the ground. Or how he and his older brother JR got into all sorts of mischief, pulling pranks on everyone. Toward the end of our walk, I’d run ahead and put my hands and feet in the imprints on the sidewalk on Lancaster St. right before saying hello to the yellow lab that always barked at us as we passed by.

We forget pieces of our childhood until we have children of our own and they remind us what it used to be like. I hadn’t thought about these walks for a long time until I took my girls for one yesterday. Just like my detours, they found their own along a rocky pathway, where I followed behind, feeling that long-lost spark of adventure. Then they hopped from one stepping stone to the next at the house on the corner. The big one pointed out pretty white blossoms blooming on a tree while the little one picked dandelions to carry, and I felt like a kid again, which is to say, happy.

on a walk

3 Candles

Dear S,

Happy 3rd Birthday, darling girl! It seems impossible that you’re three years old already, yet here we are.

Where does the time go? Probably the same place where my sanity and all the missing socks end up. I say this every time another birthday rolls around, but I can’t believe you’re another year older. Time is rushing away from me, refusing to slow down, just like you. Each day you’re getting a little taller, your hair a little longer, you’re changing and maturing right before my eyes. Please stop.

You are a delight in every sense of the word. Just seeing your little face with your plump cherub cheeks and your huge expressive eyes makes me smile. You are quite the character, and as much as it pains me to admit it, you’re already such a little diva. You furrow your brow, cross your arms, and roll your eyes just like a pro. (I have no idea where you get it from.) I’m so afraid when you become a teenager. Please don’t.

You love doing everything with your big sister: “barrel racing” in the front yard, coloring pictures together, playing horses and Barbies. The two of you together is everything. The other night you asked to sleep in her bed, and while it didn’t last all night, I thought that was the sweetest thing in the world.

Every night I put you to sleep, reading, rocking, and singing to you. It’s my favorite part of the day. Your body curled up in my arms with your tiny arms wrapped around me. Your little voice telling me you love me back. I’m always so exhausted by this time that sometimes I just want it to be over so I can rest, but then I realize there’s no better place than in your parent’s arms, so I rock you a little longer and squeeze you a little tighter because you won’t always let me hold you like this, although I hope you prove me wrong.

We have big plans for your birthday today. A trip to the zoo, and then a party with friends and family, even a rainbow donkey pinata that you’re head over heels in love with. Something tells me you’re gonna be more in love with what’s inside the ill-fated rainbow donkey.

Wishing you a magical 3rd birthday, Sweet Pea. You truly are my sunshine. We love you!

Sunshine

 

Making Memories

Memories have always been important to me, and now even more that I’m a parent. I’m always taking pictures of my kids, recording videos, trying to capture a specific moment in time. For what though? So we can show them when they’re older? Look here, see, you loved smearing food all over your face, and here’s the time you were running around the front yard naked. I guess it’s to remind ourselves of everything because we’re too busy living it to remember it.

It’s interesting what triggers our memories. The other day I saw a navy blue S that reminded me of going to the bank with my father when I was little. The bank’s logo was a blue S that somehow engrained itself in my memory and popped up out of nowhere. All of a sudden I was standing inside that dark, musty bank playing with the metal chain holding the pen in place at the counter, running my fingers down the felt ropes as we waited in line, and hopping on one foot to the other envisioning the donut I would soon select. I hadn’t thought about going to the bank with my father for 30 years, so it seemed like a strange thing to remember, but I was glad that this forgotten time and place came back to me. I didn’t even realize it was still in there, and all triggered by this random blue S.

We took our girls to see Inside Out awhile ago. It was the little one’s first trip to the movie theater, so naturally I committed it to memory. She loved it all: the popcorn, the fruit punch, and the giant TV, as she called it. Her little face was lit with excitement the entire time.

As much as the movie is about memories, it’s also about emotions —  joy, anger, disgust, fear, and sadness to be exact. Even though my girls are young, they’re walking, talking, screaming, fighting, loving bundles of emotion, so the movie thrilled and terrified me, giving me a look inside their crazy, little heads. I know as they get older things will only get more complicated and I should just enjoy this time where everything can be fixed with a snuggle. Way easier said than done.

As parents, we try so hard to give our children the best of everything thinking it will ensure an amazing upbringing. It’s one of the reasons why parenthood is so difficult because things aren’t always so easy and nothing ever really goes as planned and we worry too much. Writing this it dawned on me that what made going to the bank with my father special was not what we were doing, or that I got a donut out of the deal, but that I was with him, holding his hand, being his little sidekick. It all seems so simple then. Hold their hands, be with them, and they’ll remember that more than anything. And also, take them to get a donut every now and then.