Life, disrupted

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.

5 Replies to “Life, disrupted”

  1. I find that I’m still spending hours on the mechanics of supporting my kids — getting them places, getting them services/support/diagnosis as needed. I still don’t see the Final Jeopardy part, even with a DVR.

    Yes, we can make lemonade out of our lemons. Eldest and I have long talks on the way to and from her athletic outings. Youngest and I chat as I walk her to the playground for her daily exercise. But it still can leave me, wiped, at 10pm, wondering where that “me” time really is!

  2. You channeled my thought process this week exactly- my new motto is “embrace the chaos” as I am feeling acutely how soon my “hands on” parenting days and all the chaos that goes with it will be over. Even though many of the days are challenging, I too am trying to stay in the moment and really focus on the enjoyment of talking/playing/arguing/nagging kids.Yes, the day will come when I will look back and miss at least a little bit the days of nagging my kids to brush teeth or do homework! And i’ll definitely miss the great stories they tell me about things at school and the loudness of their play. Thanks for reinforcing the need for me to embrace the chaos!

  3. Yes, me, too. Thanks for this post. My four year-old likes to go in and out stating “bye mom, I’m going to college,” (per Toy Story 3). The two year-old follows and repeats it. This is one of my reminders to integrate play and interaction as fatigue, work and competing responsibilities pull from many directions. I’ll try to embrace the chaos!

  4. Janice, I’m with you. I’m always wiped. I think reality is far removed from my expectations. I’m trying to align them better. 🙂

    Krlock, I have a picture on my desk of me holding Geeky Boy at the beach when he was a baby. He had an ear infection that trip and didn’t sleep much at all, making my vacation not much of a vacation. I remember feeling frustrated and tired at the time. But when I look at the picture, what I remember is how soft and squishy he was and that I got to hold him. No, not so much. That time was as crazy and frustrating as now is, just in a different way. I miss the old chaos, but there are things I like about the new version, too.

  5. I always appreciate the chaos after the fact. For me, anyway, no matter how often I try to live with the chaos, and embrace it, it’s just HARD. I wish the awareness that I’ll miss it helped me bear it better.

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