Being a parent can be challenging. Truly I don't remember a time any longer when I wasn't tired. Somehow I just never feel completely rested. It dawned on me the other day that I don't think I have slept continuously through the night more than a few times in the last 21 years. Phew, no wonder I'm tired.
There's always things to think about, kids to listen for, lists to made and revamped in my head, things to worry about, things to be excited about, dogs that need to be let out in the night, sick kids, throwing up kids and kids afraid of the dark. And lets not forget Mommy and Daddy time, which has to take place when everyone is asleep. Romantic, I know ( interject sarcasm here )
Being a seasoned Mom, I smile kindly when new Moms talk about how tired they are but how, as soon as the baby starts sleeping through the night, everything will go back to normal. Somehow they have this notion, lets call it blind hope, that this exhaustion is a passing thing, and that as soon as Junior grows out of this little stage, all will be well. The thing is, Junior grows up to be a teenager, and then a young adult who doesn't always call home or tell you where they are going, and you imagine all sorts of hideous scenarios of death, accidents and murder that have happend to them, making for some horrendously sleepless nights. And also, more times than not, we have more kids, so just when we think we have things under control, we give birth to another one of the little darlings. Insanity, I know!
Another thing about being a parent is no alone time in the bathroom. I can't have a shower or go to the bathroom in peace. This is a thing of the far distant past. Shower time means sibling fights, spills in the kitchen, kids trying to jimmy the lock on the bathroom because they have to go NOW and some sort of injury. Many a times I have found myself racing out of the shower, towel wrapped around me, dripping water all over the floor only to find angelic faces looking back at me. "What?" they say. "What was all the screaming about? I thought someone got killed?" I franticly look around for blood. "Oh that, we're fine now." And all faces turn back to the movie that's on the TV.
You see, when you sign on to be a parent, you are in for the long haul. There is no turning back, you just trudge on in the trenches. Sleep is a nice notion, a dream that will take place sometime in the future. Privacy and Peace is something that exists in the lives of the couples that don't have kids. Have you ever noticed how well these people age? Where are their wrinkles? Their worry lines? Their muffin top? Their stretch marks? And why are they all tanned? Oh ya, they get to go to hot places on vacation. They can afford it. Sometimes I gaze on them with envy. But then I fall asleep while gazing. Have to catch those zzzzz's any chance you get.
But here's the thing. In all my complaining, and all my suffering, underneath lies a miracle. A miracle of life and love. For each bad moment, there are 1000 good ones. For each "I HATE you MOM!" There are 1000 I love you's. For each Christmas emergency room visit with vomit on your tacky Christmas sweater, are many Christmas joys, of snuggles gazing at the tree lights, and faces of wonder when they see their stockings full Christmas morning. For each time your face is scrunched in worry ( that's where the wrinkles come from ) as you lie your hand against a feverish forhead and they shiver beneath their Hello Kitty quilt, you will have moments of sheer joy, as you see them dance across a stage or fly high on the trampoline as you shout, "BE CAREFUL!"
And the best thing of all, is when you show up for work on a Sunday morning and you open your lunch bag to grab an apple, and out falls a note that little hands slipped in there when you weren't looking. And as you open it a smile breaks out on your face as you read the words written there in child like scrawl. Dear Mom, I miss you. Hope you have a good day. P.S. Be Happy because I love you.
Those words make everything worth while. And Mommy loves you too.