Almost three years into this chapter and role of my life, I still question myself if I was cut out for this parenting thing. I figure I always will. I never wanted kids that bad. It wasn’t a 100%, but I knew I wouldn’t have ever missed it had it never happened to us. I wouldn’t have known what I was missing since other people’s kids have never been something I was interested in – much less knew what the heck to do with. My friend used to tease me – when a commercial with a cute puppy came on TV, I’d go “awwwwww” and when the next commercial with a cute baby came on TV, she’d go “awwwww” but I couldn’t care any less.
But I was blessed to be given this privilege/
curse called parenthood. And while now I know what I would have been missing, I can’t help but admit at times that life as a non-parent would have been so much easier, and certainly more glamourous. Like yesterday morning, driving Skyler to daycare, the first day of her latest illness, which is a massive summer cold. She sneezed a fountain not much less than ten times in the course of our drive. So I’m trying to keep us straight on the Interstate and not kill us over some excess snot, while at the same time handing her panicked whiney face a tissue so she can wipe her own nose, which at her age is hardly effective. I arrive at daycare with a miserable snot-faced kid and a car full of sticky kleenexes. And then the freak out of how are the other parents dropping their kids off going to think of me, seeing my watery-eyed crusty-nosed girl heading in to play, share toys, and sneeze on their healthy kids? Other parents’ fleeting glances can be downright cruel (but I do it too when I’m on the other side).
I spend my evenings doing the bidding of an adorable but terribly rotten two and a half year old, and trying to find that balance between putting up with a repetitive ear-piercing whine for the sake of discipline, and just giving in so I can get some peace and maybe my happy daughter back. Add Bruno to that mix who, as soon as Skyler was born, realized/decided that I was also his mom, which meant I needed to wait on his every need as well. Yes, he’s been Ronnie’s dog for nearly 10 years, and I’ve been in his daily life for less than half of that, but now I am apparently the only person in this house he will nudge, lick, bother, lurk at, etc, until he’s fed/watered/let out. And it gets tiring. Not that any of these little tasks are exhausting in themselves, but the act of being constantly needed for something can be draining, when after my long day of work I want to just relax.
And that is the life of a parent, at least for this stage in our child’s life when she’s testing her boundaries, gaining independence, but still needs lots of help with everything. And while I sometimes dream of an alternative life where things are easier and I can just be me, I wouldn’t trade it. Because now and then, like a few mornings ago, I look down smiling at my daughter, and without me having to crack a joke or add any other incentive, she beams the sweetest smile right back at me, my heart melts, and I know why I’m doing this and how much I am truly blessed.