As a parent you may find yourself faced with a daily dichotomy that is easily likened to the fight-or-flight response. Some days your air passages are dilated, blood vessels are constricted, and your heart rate feels as though it has spiked an all-time high. When your central nervous system isn't working overtime to fire neurons, when your anxiety level is at the suitable smiley face standard, when your head doesn't feel like it belongs to a bludgeoned Rocky Balboa, when you don't find yourself hiding out in your phone booth (a.k.a. closet), and when you don't mutter "Calgon, take me away" as you reach for the wine, then you, my friend, deserve a cardboard cookie and that wine.
You can have those goodies once the kids have completed homework, been fed, been bathed, been wrestled into pajamas, brushed their teeth & hair, stories have been read, and they've drifted off to dream land; that is, if you're not catching Zzz's in one of their beds, too. Parenting is, as my wise Dad would say, like eating a ketchup popsicle while wearing white gloves. It's a job like no other and a job that must be done by only brave beings for it is seemingly next to impossible, yet more rewarding than any other job when parts of it are done right.
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It's a miracle that I survived the sneaking out, crowd surfing, bruised mosh pitting, sky diving days of my youth, the time & place for everything called COLLEGE, and my relatively carefree twenties. I worry so much about my kids twenties, and they’re currently still in the single digits. Today when I compare that blissful me to the Mommy me, I still see the same person at the core, and it's still a miracle that she survives each day. She really looks haggard sometimes, and sure, she's not as cool as she once knew she was, but she pretends to be by refusing to call her vehicle a minivan. It’s a “Bus” which is seemingly way cooler to this mom. She no longer dons her bulky, rebellious Doc Marten's, but she does wear sensible shoes and keeps a freezer stocked with Pop-Ice, an abundance of Capri Suns in the fridge, and microwave popcorn is a staple in her pantry as one never knows when an impromptu play date may arise...and those are just as cool and welcome to her kids as they are to her & her mommy friends.
I've traded in what seems like a chill past life for years of surreal, heart palpitating adventures including: Tantrums, potential broken bones, ambulance ride(s), allergic reactions, weekly (sometimes hair pulling) grocery shopping with tots in tow and strangers that touch them, sleepless nights, my TV stuck on mind numbing shows like The Wiggles, hospital stays, unwanted advice from wise elders, finger pricks, immunizations, tantrums, falls, face plants, scrapes, criticism from other parents, festering wounds, wrinkles, 20 million Band-Aids, bug bites, bounce houses, tantrums, projectile Exorcist-ish vomit, seeping blow outs in car seats, grocery carts, etc., a googolplex of soiled diapers, sheer perplexity & head scratching, public humiliation, countless birthday parties in public places where one can smell the germs, tantrums, piercing words, overwhelmed thoughts, body aches, heart aches, frustration, fear, doubt, stress, endless worry (did I mention tantrums?)...
Yet I have been granted the title of "Mom," a lifetime of free hugs, complimentary kisses, endless love, giggles galore, and innumerable proud memories including so many joyful triumphs and firsts: First smiles, coos, rolls, babbles, crawls, words, steps, friends, school days, sports teams, goals, trophies, stories, dances, dates, etc. (the thoughts of which still - and forever will- lead me to tears).
I have also gained daily doses of pure goodness, and I am so fortunate to have threelittle beings that are true blessings in my life. Some days I feel as if I don't deserve them. I look at them and still can’t quite figure out how they came to be when they did. I know the science behind how they were made, but they really are perplexing little gifts. They're so impressionable, so innocent, so genuine, so sweet, and simply angelic when they're sleeping. The bottom line is they’re too perfect to be from me. Best of all -- They're mywhole world. So when petty things pass my way or I am feeling beaten and beyond weary, I must remind myself to be thankful for my role as a parent, ask for patience, and be thankful for the gratuitous steady doses of the free drug that is adrenaline. It keeps me going, and going, and going.... After all, adrenaline is what turns an unassuming normal person into a cape wearing, crime fighting super hero, right?