Adrenaline is really a fascinating thing- the way it can rev you up and keep you amped, completely obscure the awareness of fatigue, literally make you feel like an Energizer bunny. But when it subsides, the sensation of hitting the tired wall is really intense. I've been drawing on my energy and adrenaline reserves too frequently lately and am definitely feeling depleted. Since the boys started school, I have been repeatedly struck by how insanely busy May and early June always are: end-of-the-year parties/meetings/gifts/presentations/etc; the rush to complete everything before the proverbial bell rings and the summer winds blow everyone around like scattershot seeds. Looking over my calendar for the next couple weeks is nearly terrifying, so while I try to stay on top of things, I also try not to peek at it too often. Oliver appears to have come down with a cold which means the things I thought were on tap this weekend will very likely need to be rescheduled or changed, and the sleep I hoped to get delayed yet again.
I sometimes wonder if the light at the end of the parenting tunnel - when they are out of diapers; when they're both in school; when they're X or Y years old;...- is nothing more than a mirage we all persist in believing is there. It has to get easier, right? But if the oft-repeated adage that "the bigger the kids, the bigger the challenges" is true in even a small way, "getting easier" is really just relative. The issue from last month is simply supplanted by a new one.
Around Mother's Day I wrote (or meant to write) that I felt like a stasis had settled happily in our home. Why do I put those sentiments into the ether? I should keep them deep inside where no jinx or hex can mar them. I swear to you that said stasis went whoosh, whoosh and away not real long afterwards. Oliver, always such an amazingly easy child, has since turning 3, finally reached his "terrible 2s", a typically standard delay in boy years. I know this too will pass, but jesus, I miss my little honey pie sometimes. He can be so damn bad, so unlikeable in his worst moments. As can we all, but being the one who most often witnesses the ugly AND is tasked with teaching him and Jack to handle themselves in ways that consider and respect others so that they aren't repellant young adults and grown-ups, well, it sure feels like a shitty deal at times.
Just another thing about parenthood that no one ever really says: that more than you might want to know or admit, you will not like your own children sometimes. Often, you can't even come close to fathoming loving any human more than you do each of your children; at other moments, you really want to time-share them a bit. And so you reach back in to the reservoir, hoping there's enough energy or adrenaline for another day, another week, until some stasis settles back over you all like a veil of amnesiac happy dust.
Parenting is such a gamble in some ways. You hope that your good decisions and best moments will outweigh your mistakes; that the kids ultimately realize that you were trying your very hardest even though you stumbled; that when they're older and in relationships, they'll understand and respect why you refused to give them absolutely everything because then you'd have nothing left for your own partnership and self; that not making it all about them really was in their best interest; and that when they're big and grown and gone, they're never really gone too much or too far because you know you'll miss them terribly.