There is no experience into which human beings freely enter for which they are so ill prepared. A "what the fuckola am I doing here?" moment...after moment...after moment.
I am, of course, talking about being born...I mean, Parenting. I'm talking about Parenting. Or being born.
How do you know when you're doing it right?
It never feels right. And as soon as you do accidently feel right...when you suddenly develop a warm feeling in your chest, outside Aunt Annie's Pretzels watching your brood eat warm buttery bread and icy sugary drink, when you look in their radiant faces and feel something that might just be affection, and then you hear your own voice in your head saying, in slow motion, like that drawn out voice Will Ferrel does on animal sedative,
"Yoooouuuuu aaaaarrrrre aaaa goooood paaaaaarrreeeeent."
You gasp upon the realization. The realization that you have just hit The High.
And what follows immediately after The High is The Low.
Lows last longer than Highs.
It's quantam ecophysinomics.
We don't know what we're doing. Any of us, at any time. Sometimes I am quite certain I am being a bad mother AND a good mother, at the exact same time.
I really could never have imagined how parenting would feel in my soul. How self-doubt could be a constant companion.
I mean if someone would just SHOW me how to do it, I would do it. No problem. I swear. I can friggin copy that. I just can't always create it.
I can't create bliss and harmony. I mean, I know I wasn't promised bliss and harmony but why do I seem hard-wired to crave it? To think that things could be better, to want ease and comfort.
Days should not feel this long. So hard-traveled.
Moms, all moms, are ridden hard and put away wet.
Has it been this hard for all moms/parents? Hi Dads!
Has it always been this bone-chilling, soul-sucking endeavor?
We have it so much "easier" than parents a century ago so why doesn't it feel that way? Perhaps our burden now is that we have lives of convenience. We are really pleased when things are easy and efficient. That's "good design."
Children are not convenient. At all. They are anti-convenient.
And that's hard to tolerate. And all the repetition. Jesus, I just fed you how could youbehungryagaingoddamnit?
Is it because our little families have become too small? We are separated from the herd and now we're separated from our spouses. It feels thinnish family-wise. It feels thinnish fight-wise too so there's that. But I really walk around feeling like a missing half. I adore my independence and alone time, but it is not worth not having the other half. And I'm talking about the other half of my dreams. Not those other other-halfs.
My friend Todd and I were sitting at the park today and I was feeling very much my Irish. Angry, tense, peeved, emotional, EDGY. It was about 11am and the park was hopping. It was still chilly and morning foggy. In the middle of all the green grass and well-maintained play structures and clean, suburban sand, a golf cart food truck thingy rolls up right behind our bench selling chips, soda and uber-artificially-flavored ice creams.
Seriously. Fucking rolled up directly behind us. Not in the parking lot or on a path. He was riding on the grass and stopped behind us.
Children's ears heard the call. A father passing us at just that moment took his son's hand and simply said, "Forget about it, Miles". Within minutes, our children were tearing across the sand and we said, "Forget about it, Miles." My friend's son took off listening obediently to his father but my son threw fit #495802 of the day. Crying. Whining. Other children started in too. The once jovial park turned quickly into a chest-beating, hyperventilating park. A bunch of us told the truck driver to take a hike. A nearby father with his own writhing son said, with what I thought was an air of expectant agreement, "Don't you think it's a little early?" The driver just glared.
Soon, he sold a giant ice cream sandwich to an old grandma who handed it to a newborn. Having caught his prey he moved on.
Have we lost our souls?
We permit trucks to drive trashy foods around playgrounds and then we waste our hard-earned tax dollars on First Five Eat Healthy billboards.
We don't want to go without. And consequently neither do our children.
Sacrifice feels intolerable. We want so much more. We want it all.
But we burn out, have to learn to say no. Get spread thin and are no good to anyone. Like Katy Perry said, A house of cards...
What is this ego that yearns to stay out in front? To be seen, appreciated, to be MORE? Why don't I just accept my work, my load, my position? I'm the snack-fetcher, fight-ender, car-driver, dream-procrastinator.
Maybe in the past, way past, I'm talking past/past, maybe we were just happy the kids got out alive. (I am still in gratitude that I manage to keep mine alive.) Things were just simpler. Expectations were lower. Like in this video.
Tomorrow is another day (off of school). And laughter is a prerequisite.