Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Perspective

So I'm on my own now as the mother of two. Kevin went back to work (and even left town for a couple of days for his grandmother's funeral), and all our parents have departed. Turns out this is harder when the adult to child ratio is not even. Basically, you have to be OK with someone always being unhappy with you. It's kind of like being President of the United States. If the Republicans aren't crapping on you, the Democrats are. Only when you are a mom, the crap is not metaphorical. And you don't have a personal chef. And you're wearing yoga pants all the time. Those are the key differences. But either way, every day is an endless series of weighing worst outcomes. Is it worse to put Lawson down mid feeding or let Charlotte's pee soak into the rug? Is it worse to let Charlotte stay up til 9 pm or let Lawson scream to himself while you put her to bed? Is it worse to let Lawson scream to himself or let Charlotte eat the Goldfish from under the dining room table for dinner? And the ultimate issue of our time, is harder to leave the house with both children or stay in the house with both children? Is it worse to support Hosni Mubarak or risk declining counter terrorism support from other key middle eastern allies? See, all the same.

I won't lie to you, I'm not having the most fun ever. I would give anything to have more than 2 pairs of pants and 5 T shirts to wear, to go anywhere by myself other than the gynecologist, to go bra-less and nursing pad-less in my sleep, to eat a quiet dinner with my husband, to spend any real time with him really. But I know that this phase will indeed pass, each day brings me ever closer to that Nirvana that is elementary school. Lawson is my last chid (as God is my witness), so everything with him is the last time, and I am celebrating that. I am trying to enjoy this time on some level and to fully appreciate how blessed I am to have two healthy kids.

One thing that has helped me to do this is to remember a family I've never actually met but who used to go to our church. They have a 6 year old and a 4 year old, both born with a rare genetic disorder called Sanfilippo Syndrome, a disease that progressively causes children to become disabled and then die by age 10 or so. Children with this disease develop like a normal, healthy child until around age 2, at which time they begin to regress mentally and physically. This couple's second child, a boy, was just born when they discovered their daughter had the disease. Then they tested their son, and he had it too. I cannot imagine what these parents' lives are like. In addition to the deep heart break of watching your beloved children slowly leave you, there are the day-to-day challenges of caring for special needs children. They have said on their blog that they are perpetually in the baby and toddler stage. They cherish each moment with their kids despite the hardships.

When I think of this family, well, I still complain about my life with small kids. Clearly, God has limited the number and severity of challenges in my life because the resultant whining would drive him crazy. As it is, He has poured out blessings on my life in attempt to make it stop, to no avail. Apparently, God can create the universe, but he can't stop me from whining. BUT, when I think about this family, underneath my grumbling I know that these beautiful children of mine are the greatest gift on earth. I mean, not only are they healthy, they are adorable, talented, personable, and brilliant (obviously). Raising them is the most important thing I will ever do. But then I think that is why I do complain about parenthood, because I am overwhelmed and terrified by the responsibility of it. I love them so much, it is horrifying to me that they are in my care. Surely someone else is more qualified.

So I'm still going to complain, mostly because it is fun. But I'm going to try a little harder to keep it in perspective.

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