Kids Kick Your Ass

Whether you’re old, young, gay, straight, single, or married, the options & possibilities to have children seem to be within everyone’s reach, now more than ever before.  Even so, the choice should not be taken lightly because plain and simple – kids kick your ass.

That may sound harsh & negative but it’s the truth.  Even well adjusted, patient, intelligent, educated, “successful” people STILL get their asses kicked by having kids.  Don’t get me wrong, I would cut off my right arm or stand in the path of a freight train for my kids but that still doesn’t negate the truth of the matter.  There is no amount of advice or preparation that can make the first few years of parenthood any easier to handle.

If it’s not the sleep deprivation that knocks you out in the first year, it will be the toddler years for the next few.  When I heard the old cutesy “terrible two’s” statement, it never really registered in my brain as being something real & tangible.  I was in denial….  MAJOR denial.  The terrible two’s (and the 3’s, & sometimes the 4’s) are a lesson in pure patience & love.  In no other relationship in your life would you reason with a person who was so…what’s the word I’m looking for… DELUSIONAL?  IRRATIONAL?  HORMONAL?  UNCOMPROMISING? … INSANE?

Normally, if I had someone in my life that was disrespectful, emotionally & physically abusive, or moody, I would wish that person well and take the first road out of crazy town.  If your boss assigned a coworker a job that she wasn’t thrilled about so she threw her cup of coffee in his face and started crying, I think she’d be getting the pink slip before the meeting even ended.  Or if you suggested your boyfriend take a bath and he screamed, slapped you across the face & told you that he hated you, I think he’d be single soon.  Or if you tried to take the phone from a friend at 2am so that she didn’t do any tipsy texting, and she threw herself on the ground in the middle of the street kicking and screaming, I think you’d flag the closest cab and say “peace out”.

Aside from maybe that last one, you would never have or maintain relationships with such crazy, irrational people.  Yet, with your own kids, you are forced to.  You have to try to reason with someone who has no reasoning ability… no logic… nor common sense.  You have to try to negotiate with someone who will not compromise.  You have to try to calm an irrational crazy person who would easily pass the test to be considered legally mentally insane.  But they’re not, they are “just in their terrible two’s” and they live in the same house with you, every single day for YEARS, and you have to take care of them.  It’s kind-of absurd to think about.

People always told me that having kids would change my life but I didn’t really *hear* them.  Before I had kids, I’d see parents out with their kids, they’d seem to be annoyed or frustrated and short with their children and I’d always feel bad for their kids.  I’d say to myself, ‘gosh, when I have kids, I’m going to be the best parent ever, I’m going to be energetic, I’m going to be engaging, I’m never going to sit them in front of the TV, I’m going to quit work & stay home with them, I’m going love & kiss them every chance I get, I’m never going to hurt their feelings or get mad at them.  I’m going to glow with appreciation for them at every second of the day”.  Let’s just say I was very naive & IDEALISTIC.  Now, when I’m out with my kids, we parents give each other understanding nods & smiles.  We KNOW.  We’re beat down, we’re tired, we’ve been cleaning up somebody else’s bodily fluids and dealing with crazy little people for YEARS!!!  We’re Parents. We have finally given in to our new roles, we couldn’t beat them, so we joined them.  We now play Baby Einstein music in our cars, Elmo movies on “date night” at home, and tote our kids around to watch them in the hilarious “hearding kittens” experience that is known as preschool soccer.

I have to say that God has a HUGE sense of humor to send me the gift of having children in my 30’s.  It has definitely been a learning curve.  It’s been a struggle at times to re-purpose my life and realize what is most important.  I’m only human.  It was hard to get my ass kicked… humbled… broken down.  I think this is almost like a near death experience, like those people who come back from a near tragic experience and then make the most out of every day of their life from that point on.  I think having toddlers is like that, you feel so far removed from your center sometimes.  They take, take, take, from you physically & emotionally that you get a sense of your life flashing before your eyes in a way.  What was once yours, a calm logical mind, a clean house, nice unbroken things, clean walls, minimal loads of laundry, a backseat free of mystery sticky stuff (I could go on & on), is threatened by this mini person.  And yet you wouldn’t trade the experience for anything else in the world.  Ever.  It’s strange.

They had a dinner at my son’s preschool a few weeks ago for parents to have a “night off” of cooking dinner.  I looked around at all the other parent’s, and everyone seemed… well, broken down.  We were all eating dinner quietly, letting our kids run buck wild around room chasing each other.  We didn’t care because we were all in the same boat, happy to get a hot meal with other ass-kicked parents who didn’t give us evil eye for our out of control children & vice-versa.  In a restaurant, it would have been a different story, we would have been half way home already with our lukewarm meal in a doggie bag to eat home.

There is a point where you just let go and accept your new life of being unselfish, and loving how freeing it is.  Kids force you to be in the present moment, to smell the roses (or the poo rather).  It’s THE hardest, most unappreciated job in the world, but its the BEST, most fulfilling job at the same time (I’m not sure how that oxymoron statement could even exist but it does).  People always comment on how busy or active we seem “for having kids”.  I think that is what is great about parenthood, it puts life into perspective and makes you really savor every single moment (even the moments that you don’t really want to savor).  I think having kids makes me appreciate my life so much more.


Wholesome Envy

Last night I attended the wedding of our families long time friends son, Josh.  My Mom & Josh’s Mom have been best friends since before we were born.  I was the first born of my family, Josh is the 4th.  He had 3 older sisters, all of whom got married in years (& months) prior.

Josh’s parents are John & Diane Nevers.  They are hard-working and traditional.  John has worked as an engineer for as long as I can remember.  Diane was a nurse but stopped working to raise her children.  They are devout Christians and very involved in their church.

Growing up, they invited us to every single church function:  vacation bible school, october carnival, and all the special holiday functions.  Sometimes we’d go, sometimes we wouldn’t.  Being raised by my parents, both of which were never really religious on such a saturated level, we’d often wonder what the Nevers family “got out of” being so wrapped up in religion & the church.

Throughout the years, after being raised Catholic, I had often struggled with my own spirituality & religious beliefs.  At times, I’d felt insecure around the Nevers family in all their Godly glory.  I perceived that they judged me & my life.  I perceived that they were secretly shaking their heads at all of my imperfect decisions.  But I’ve learned that that couldn’t be farther from the truth.  Though we haven’t always been pillars of light, they’ve always treated my Mom & our family, like we’re a part of theirs. The Nevers family would give you the shirt off their back if you needed it.  I’ve never heard them gossip or pass judgment on anyone.

I’m convinced they are one of the last true wholesome families out there.  John & Diane raised all 5 of their kids on a single income.  And as far as I could tell, their kids never wanted for anything.  They were content with hand-me-downs from older siblings or friends.  Content with sharing bedrooms & bunkbeds.  Content with keeping their old television, mini-van, computer, etc. until they burned out.  Content without their kids having the latest & greatest video games, ipods, clothes, gadgets, fads, etc.  In other words, content without having to keep up with the Jones’.

They lived a simple life with simple by-laws.  And it worked.  They raised 5 wonderful kids.  They are sweet, caring, loving, and wholesome.  In fact, I have never heard them fight or bicker or say two mean words about anybody.  They don’t care about wanting to “get ahead” or to find jobs making gobs of money.  They just seem to have different goals & priorities.  They seem to make the world a better place by just being in it.

I may have felt insecure by their “simpleness” in the past.  Speculated on their true joy in life.  Questioned their achievements & contributions to this world…  but I finally “get it”.  And the truth is, now that I’m a parent, I want my children to be just like them.  Sweet.  Kind.  Caring.  Loving.  Simple. Beautiful.  I don’t want Gentry to be the popular jock in highschool who gets all the ladies,  I want him to be the quiet nerd in the corner who is kind to people before anything else.  Same with Haven, I want her to make the world a better place just by being in it.

I know that I will have to let my kids be who they are going to be but if I can somehow be the influence like John & Diane have been to their kids, I want to be.  I know it starts with becoming more spiritually rich myself & raising my kids to be too, and valuing ones neighbor and not possessions.

It’s so hard in this society of mass materialism.  It’s so hard not to lose focus of what the most important things are.  I’m going to try my best.

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