Yesterday was a crazy day. It shouldn’t have been but it was. The morning was fine. I worked on a couple of things. I got some stuff together that needed to be mailed off. Before lunch with a friend, I dropped it at the post office. After lunch, I had planned to go by Geeky Girl’s school and get some materials I needed to prepare for a lesson I’m doing today. I had been by the day before and they weren’t there, so I double checked the information when I got home and planned to pick them up after lunch. Only, again, they weren’t there. So I emailed the other volunteers and watched as the hours went by with no response. Geeky Boy had something in the afternoon which he insisted he didn’t have and when he called to check, he found out that yes, he did have it, but it got postponed because we were late. Which meant that *I* had to reschedule something I had later, which bummed me out because the thing I had was supposed to be fun. I made dinner, ate dinner, and did more stuff that was not my own and got disrupted by one kid or another every time I tried to do something. And then I passed out before 10.
I was kind of cranky yesterday. I hate being cranky. You’d think by now I’d be used to the fact that kids are disruptive. One of our friends back in grad school when we asked him to describe what life was like with a kid (before we had any), he said, “It’s like watching Jeopardy and then not ever getting to see final Jeopardy.” This was also before Tivo and DVRs, which have been a boon to at least that kind of disruption. I think one of the hardest things for me as a parent is realizing that your life isn’t always your own. You are responsible for the well-being of others and that often means that you don’t get to do what you want when you want to. Now I’m a “put your own oxygen mask on first” kind of parent. I believe in taking time for yourself and not putting your whole life into your kids. And, I think I’ve done a good job over the years of doing that. But sometimes, you have absolutely no choice. And I don’t mean just in emergencies. Sometimes, the kids just have to come first.
Now that my kids are older, there are less disruptions, but they’re still there. And because they’re more infrequent (they used to be constant), I get cranky about them. I really shouldn’t. Also as the kids get older, I realize how little time I have left with them living under my roof. In three years, Geeky Boy will be off to college (presumably) and then on to other things. And Geeky Girl is just 7 years away. That time will go by quickly. It’s hard sometimes to pull oneself back to the present, to being in the moment and really appreciating it, rather than thinking about what your kids are keeping you from doing. Or worse, looking *forward* to the time when they’ll be gone. Because when I really think about it, I don’t look forward to it. I will miss seeing them every day and talking to them. I will actually miss those disruptions, the questions, the stories, the funny observations. And I know I’ll still worry about them, hope for them, and be happy for them. And I’ll wish for their disruptions. For now, I have to think of them not as disruptions, but as moments of connection, time to be together.