Monday, May 17, 2010

A trying trio

It's the girls' third birthday. This is supposed to be a time when I write heartfelt, loving prose about how much I love them, the kind you find the more serious Hallmark cards, the ones with lace and unfocused pictures of teddy bears and ballerina shoes.
But as I leave their room, I can still hear Allie screaming and banging on the door. Kate is pleading with her. Now she's just left. Tonight it's Allie's turn for a nighttime tantrum. Tomorrow it will be Andie's.
At times like these, I really have to wonder. I have to wonder why being a parent is the most rewarding thing I've ever done. Because, at times like these, it's not.
The girls' third birthday marks one of the harder years in my life, and the only ones that were tougher than their first and second year. The sacrifices I've made are numerous, uncompromising and, at times, unnatural. I have sacrificed many of the fun, relaxing things I used to enjoy. I have sacrificed most of my free time. I have sacrificed part of my sanity. All so I can replace all with tantrums, ear-splitting cries and moments that are so stressful that I don't even recognize myself. This is my life. This is every day.
And when I try to explain what it's like, usually to my friends who have older children, I get "just wait until they're teenagers." Which tells me they have no idea what I'm going through and probably don't care. All parents think they're stressed. All parents think they've got it the worst. All parents just seem to want to get through the stage they're in so things can get better.
I'm not sure they ever do.
And that is why I am happy for those three years. I admit that I really question that happiness. I wonder if I"m just telling myself that. I have done a lot soul-searching on my long runs. And I always reach the same conclusion.
Long runs are hard, just like a lot of things. And parenting may be the hardest thing I've done, but it is perhaps the most rewarding. It doesn't give me the same satisfaction that climbing a mountain or running a marathon does. Those give me energy, and the kids just take it away. But it's energy well spent, and nothing about climbing a mountain or running gives me the same warmth that those small, loving moments do.
They are fleeting. Just like a runner's high. But they're the reason to enjoy the journey, rather than try like hell to get through it.


6 comments:

Our Story... said...

oh after the day I have had - I am reading this post thinking Amen! I hear you!!!!

BWoP said...

Just think of that picture of you running with the girls by your side . . .

Yeah, times can be tough (not that I would have any kind of understanding of what it's like to be a parent), but I see how much my parents love me despite all of the crap I probably put them through as a child and it's made a world of difference in my life.

Schaubs said...

awesome post.

thanks for this.

I've got twins on the way...

WillWonka said...

I definitely hear what you are saying as I have 2 young girls myself.

But this is our legacy brother! Nobody said that would be easy, fun, immediately rewarding, and all that other postcard stuff. It is what it is and I still wouldn't trade it for anything.

For example, myself and Mrs Wonka had a chance to have dinner on our last night. No 14 bathroom breaks, no sepearating girls, no telling people to quiet downa and eat their food, no chasing girls from wherever. but here is the thing. Towards the end, I couldn't wait to pay the check and go back and see them. It's really unexplainable.

Keep the faith brother!!

lightning36 said...

The early years are demanding, stressful, and tiring, Peaker. Sometimes just living through them with a tad of sanity is an accomplishment.

I now have three teenagers. Aside from the usual teenager crap (they think I am old, stupid, know nothing), they are fun! We get to have adult conversations, argue about politics and other stuff, go out to eat together ...

My oldest just turned 18. She is an intelligent beautiful young woman and is excited to be starting college in the fall. She will be moving almost 1,000 miles away. I can't believe the time has gone by so quickly -- and how empty our house will feel without her.

Try to make sure that you and the wife have some "couple time" reserved away from the kids for short stretches.

Best of luck, bro. : o )

The Wife said...

Trust me . . . it gets better! :)