Alright, Alright, I don’t hate them, but they are really, really annoying.
Okay, I love them, and they are a blessing, but, Jesus Christ, why won’t they leave me alone? Perhaps this offends some people, not the least of whom is my wife. Let me explain.
I used to be cool. I used to have friends and go out. I used to stay up past 9:30 p.m. easily and sleep in past noon. I say “used to” because that part of my life is over. I refer to that person as “Old Craig.” A small piece of “Old Craig” dies every day. For lack of a better term, we will call it Old Craig’s life force.
This life force is taken from me and given to my children. In return, I get to live forever, through my children of course. My eldest son, three, is the spitting image of me. I imagine him going through all of the same challenges, emotions, friendships, and fears I have been through in my life. In return for losing my old life, which truth be told I wasn’t very good at, I get to have a do-over. In addition, I get to watch, from up close, the entire human experience. From the very first cell to a billion emotions and thoughts from seemingly out of nowhere. If you read nothing else, know that this is worth it.
Those are the big picture items. Let me break down the day-to day-operation of raising a child from an emotional perspective.
1. Get the kids up, dressed and feed = fatigue
2. Roll on the floor playing, while watching CNN or ESPN = pleasant, with moments of stress
3. Lunchtime = extreme stress
4. Cartoon time = food poisoning type nausea
5. Nap time = ahhh, opposite of stress
6. 2 p.m.- 4 p.m. = extreme boredom
7. 4:30 p.m. through dinner = extreme stress sprinkled with moments of joy
8. Dinner = home stretch/extreme fatigue
9. Bed time = pleasant sprinkled with joy
Let’s review – tired, stressed, bored, happy, stressed, bored and exhausted.
Then, there are the cute toddler moments that go away so quickly. Today, I told Glenn I was a baby. I cried loudly, I flung my arms around and demanded milk. In the most serious voice possible, Glenn told me that I wasn’t a baby, I was daddy. I asked him, “Why can’t I be a baby?”
He said if I was a baby no one would be around to watch him, and he would miss me. Today was a very bad day with one shining, fleeting, burning-oh-so-brightly moment of joy.
I don’t think it is a contradiction at all to say that at times I feel love, hate, annoyance, pride and the entire spectrum of emotions, often before bedtime. Sometimes even at the same time. People just don’t verbalize it, because it is their child. My kids are not perfect, they bother me. Just like every other two-year-old, teenager, and punk kid that isn’t mine.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.