Hi Fellow Travelers on this road called LIFE.
Have any of you found that you're not living up to your own expectations of what you would do when you finally got the chance to raise children? For years I had day dreamed about "if only we could have children, I'd......" roll down grassy hills with them, climb every mountain, race them on bicycles, sew matching outfits, show them how to bake, read all those children's stories to them while acting them out with great pizz-zazz, do all those artsy/crafty things that involve beads and small pieces, share all the fun with them, etc. etc. The reality is that my get-up-and-go has got-up-and-went without so much as a bye-bye.
I left my job in '92 after working for 25 yrs to restore this old victorian house we have. From then until we brought our daughters home in '96 (ages 3.5 and 5.5 now), stuff like stripping 10 coats of paint off woodwork, re-plastering ceilings, installing a kitchen floor, stenciling and etching glass in doors, climbing extension ladders to scrape and paint the outside of the house, laying a brick walk, re-arranging the sofa and heavy oak furniture came easy to me. I do none of the above anymore and yet find myself "conserving energy" struggling not to fall asleep before the kids do.
People use to say "gee, your house is so neat and clean, you could eat off the floors" After the children, I lowered my standards and it was "as long as it's clean, I don't care if it's messy." Now, its where IS the floor?" The dust bunnies increased so much that they're now cherished family pets with names.
My husband of 20+ years (great guy, great buddy) does the grocery shopping and takes the kidletts with him. They're his cover. Unloading the bags and bags of his favorite snacks that "mysteriously" found their way into the cart, he says "shame on those little munchkins, they must have the same favorites". "We only needed milk?"
Oh. We take the kids to an amusement park or a musicfest and I hear myself saying "You go ahead and have fun, I'll watch" or one ride on a sled down a hill will remind me of my mortality and I sit the next one out. The snowmen keep getting smaller with each snowfall here.
So how does a person get so "old" in just 2 yrs or are our kids little "energy vampires"? They're getting stronger, I'm getting weaker. The story about the little train comes to mind with the exception that the "I think I can, I think I can" has become "I wish I could, I wish I could". Speaking of trains, my train of thought gets so derailed at times I don't know if I coming or going and actually stand around talking to myself "What was I just going to do? What did I come up here for? I just had that, now where did I put it?"
My husband and I went out to a restaurant with our kids with a couple who don't have kids. While the other grown-ups talked, I was pre-occupied keeping the utensils on the table, picking up the napkins off the floor, pushing the water glasses and salt shakers out of the reach of little hands, ankering the tablecloth with one elbow, I heard bits and pieces of adult conversation here and there. Then I interjected a comment and heard "we already talked about that" and got that LOOK. You all know the one, the one that is saved for unbalanced people.
We seem to be operating on 2 speeds here - hurry up and wait or fast forward and pause. One minute we're rushing around so much it's like a tornado going thru a trailer-park, next minute it's like sitting and watching the grass grow or the chrome rust. The "antics" of other people's children use to crack me up. Things like a bowl of spaghetti on their heads, lipstick drawings on mirrors, or dressing up in Mommy's best clothes (which are any minus kid stains) seemed "cute". Sure, they weren't mine. With our own, I feel like a drill sargeant at boot camp barking orders: c'mon let's go! drink your milk, brush your teeth, stay outta the mud with your good shoes, ya lost that again? or else I'm mumbling like the absent-minded professor, "where'd I put the water bill?" oh, it got stuck to the newspaper with the lollypop.
My younger daughter is in the "Whatcha doing? stage and before I smartened up, I'd actually answer her, the same question - 5X in a row. Now I turn the tables after the first time and say, "I don't know, what AM I doing?" Not that the fate of the free world depends on this, but I ponder things that are important to me now, like...... "Why does a missing leggo only appear when I'm barefoot? "Why did you poop AFTER I put the snowsuit on? "Why do you hate food on your fingers, but it's okay to use your hair and clothes for a napkin?" To my older daughter "If you really want long hair, better give up the bubble-gum"
I've been doing the laundry while writing this and emptied the dryer of my husband's PINK underwear and socks!!!!! Somehow a red crayon found it's way in there. More mumbling to myself "next time check pockets in kid's clothes" These days my ambitions are simple ones: That my younger daughter be out of diapers and bibs before I require them. That both daughters know their way home before I become senile. To be able to balance what needs to be done with what would be more fun to do so that our children's memories of us brings smiles to their faces when they're grown and we are long gone.
They (whose they) say it's never too late to learn. I'm learning (at 50+) to accept my limitations. Maybe I didn't age that much in 2 yrs afterall, maybe I'm just "mentally and physically challenged" temporarily. Superman was faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings at a single bound. Good for him, he didn't have kids. I'm just me, doing the best I can hoping to make a difference in 2 little lives.
Gotta go, just heard "whatcha doing?"