“Parenting – the hardest job you’ll ever love.” I don’t know, sometimes, it just doesn’t work for me. Sometimes it’s just way harder than I’d like it to be….and I’m not seeing much of the flames of love.
Most of the time, it’s hardest when it spits at and flaunts my expectations for the day. You’d think that with a cumulative “parenting age” of 16 (8 + 5 + 3), I could learn not to have expectations….but no…..I’m still a young and naïve student of erratic, nonsensical, disruptive young boy behavior.
The earliest lessons in false expectations are learned dramatically by all parents in naptime woes. You think you’ve managed to keep the little 3-month-old awake all morning and put him down at 10:00 am so you can catch the Ellen Show…but no….five minutes after you just sit down, right after her dance routine fades into commercials, and…. “waaaah.” Crushing.
You think you’re going to enjoy a nice afternoon at the Museum of Natural History, but you spend the entire time chasing down an escaping two-year-old, cornering him in the bathroom after he’s already wet his pants, and then staring in shock as he drops his knickers in full view to pee on the grass near Dippy the Dinosaur outside. Mind-numbing, drop-kicking parenting.
Then there’s the recent experience with the tonsillectomy where I figured about 4-5 days of ice cream, popsicles and jello and we’d be right back into routine. But no…..two trips to the ER, return trip to the operating room and two weeks of spitting out saliva. Messy, disgusting, worrisome….and so knocking out my expectation.
Parenting…. drop-kicks every expectation, right?!?
But no, I don’t even learn the hard way. Tuesday morning….it’s my birthday….and what do I expect? Silly of me to even think that we could possibly have a peaceful day. Super Tall wakes up beside me and wonders, “Do I get to stay home from school for your birthday?” “No, my dear,” I reply, “I don’t even get to stay home from work!” And since it was the first day back to school after a long holiday weekend, the boys sure weren’t going to work too hard on having a peaceful back-to-school moment just because it was my birthday!
But I out of work a little early to pick them up from the bus and take them out for some ice cream (my treat) …. and that was the end of the peace. Parents picked up Thai food earlier and reheated it for dinner. Boys bounced on and off chairs and screeched and babbled at the table repetitively. Every few minutes another pile of dog poop was gleefully discovered under the table and had to be cleaned up. The wine glass stood untouched. The food was cold by the time it reached my lips. The fight over who was going to blow out the candle (clearly not the birthday girl) was not surprising, of course, and the chaos before the quiet of deep sleep was only a tad more than typical. “Exhausting” is not even an adequate adjective.
My brother called around 8 pm and asked, “So – what’s your resolution for this upcoming year of your life?” Without pause I replied, “Next year – next year on my birthday, I am going to be at a nice restaurant with adult friends enjoying some peace and quiet and a very fine glass of wine!” He seemed surprised. I don’t know why.
In about 50 weeks, I’ll let you know time and location ….and I’m going to expect some good cheer, belly laughs, and a table full of peace and quiet!!
You can hold me to it.
(Of course, this expectation will be dashed by a kid who breaks his arm falling off the top of the minivan at 4:00 pm!)