The Kids You Get...Are Just That: Yours.

All day Sunday, I had such high hopes about our little family Superbowl party; like one minute in, I wanted to die. Or put in ear plugs. Or jump out the window. Or enter a major state of torpor.

Seriously, my eldest is kuh-illing me. There is so much g-damn repetitive talking and questioning and “look mom!” Today while we were mulching the garden, I thought I might perish there. I seriously thought my heart might stop, beaten into arrhythmia by incessant vocalization. I almost wished thus were so. Gall dang I love that boy, but equally, he is often too much for me.

Here’s the thing that I’ve learned about myself through parenting and blogging and counseling and all that jazz: I’m a seriously introverted extrovert. I love to be with others and do derive energy from those interactions but I have GOT to have quiet time by myself to survive all the rest. I need to be completely without stimulation in order to handle it all the rest of the time. And boy is the rest of the time intense. I am so grateful that my boys are the young men they are but that doesn’t mean that my strengths consistently align with their traits, needs and desires.

And that is one of the very toughest challenges of parenthood: you get the kids you get, whether or not they’re the easiest for YOU to parent. Usually, in some way, they’re entirely not. So you adjust and grow and improvise and shape-shift and seek advice and cry and drink and hide in your bathroom and throw multiple Hail Mary’s just hoping someone catches one. You exude gratefulness to teachers and sitters and extended family and neighbors and friends- anyone who’ll give you a shoulder of support or a moment’s reprieve. And you look for all the silver linings you can: the characteristics in your kids you adore and cherish; the ways in which they’re both alike and different from you because in each there can be elements of understanding or appreciation; the times apart from them when you can start to recenter yourself and miss those little buggers.

When you don’t have enough of those sweet spot moments, when you find yourself in the negative on your reserve meter, you punt and you fake it or you just admit that you have nothing left and hope they understand or forget or that it doesn’t mar them in any big way.

As a mother, I leapfrog from one unspoiled lilypad to the next, trying to avoid or ignore or just deal with the less pure water winding in and out and all around. I try to hold in the balance all the things I love about my children and the gratitude I truly feel for being able to stay at home with them with the very real and unvarnished truths of the situation: that parenthood can really suck, bore the shit out of me, test me beyond known limits, ask more of me that I feel I can or want to give and, critically, that it never stops. Once that baby is born, you are beholden to its needs for decades to come. No one tells you that, but even if they did, you wouldn’t believe the intensity of that constant truth.

My expectation for tonight was that we’d have a ball, aka soldier on, through the first half of the game, put the kids to bed at halftime and exhale and quietly enjoy the second half. That worked perfectly well for half of my offspring equation but was a complete fail for the other 50%. That one ended up getting a haircut during the third quarter, talking his way through the fourth and is still fairly peevish about being put to bed two minutes ago. I myself am d.o.n.e. for the night so intend to ignore everything from here on out. But I find myself a tad glum that my time at the recharging station started so much later than I anticipated. Such is the frequent truth of life as a parent. The good is good, the tough is seriously so.


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