I Love This Ride 27-February-2012
Ever get on a roller coaster, and think, just as you head down that first big hill, “What was I thinking???” But then it’s too late to stop because once you’re on the ride, you’re on it until the end. I love roller coasters!
I thought that when Ezra was born. I had so very much looked forward to being a Dad for years, and at first there was that rush of the newborn baby in the house. Then the sleep deprivation. And one million, seven thousand, five hundred and three dirty diapers. It was never that I didn’t want to stay on the ride, but there were times I wasn’t sure I’d survive it! Good stuff. (Sometimes hindsight is a blessing… I just said, “Sleep deprivation is good stuff.” If sleep-deprived me from then heard me say that, he’d probably punch me in the throat and then scream, “Diaper!” at me while I tried to regain my breath…)
Yet I also truly enjoyed it. I used to think that diapers and strollers were stages I’d just ‘survive’ to get to the ‘good stuff’ that I’m enjoying right now, with my kids at the very fun ages of 8 and 11. But I loved holding the baby, rocking the baby, napping with the baby on my chest! And all the baby and toddler things that came and went all too fast. That part of the ride was just as awesome as this part is.
This weekend went by too fast, as they all seem to these days. We even shared part of our weekend with the kids’ friends, a stage I thought I’d be not so fond of (I’m selfish!), and that too was a fun ride. Both kids are old (and fun) enough that we can just hop in the car and go. No diaper bag or stroller. The only real ‘parenting’ required of a last minute outing is that they’re dressed weather-appropriately. Ok well and a bag of snacks, but that’s more of a luxury than ‘parenting’. Good stuff.
Our action packed weekend took its toll on me by late Saturday night though, and I had just a little bit of a meltdown. Got a little grumpy. You can call me adolescent if you want to, but the truth is that grownups are just like toddlers… too much action and not enough rest is going to result in a meltdown of some kind, but when you’re the grownup, there’s no one to tell you that you’re out of line! Know how I know all that? My kids taught me. Sophie has a polite smile that says, “You’re being unreasonable, but I’m not going to argue with you.” And Ezra has a hug that says, “You’re grumpy, Dad, but I’m not going to say it out loud because that’ll make you even grumpier.” They don’t know that they’re saying those things with those actions, but that’s what they’re saying without saying it. Smart kids, they are. (When you hit Yoda’s age, you not only talk like him, but you start to realize that listening is more important than speaking…)
I never thought I’d survive the divorce years either. Can I do it alone? What do I do about girly parts issues??? Will they be scarred for life from the broken home? But it turned out to be a blessing in many ways. Scarred for life? No. But changed for life? Yes. All of us. The hole that was left where the marriage once was, quickly filled with good stuff that has shaped who we are as a family. I think ‘Stitch’ said, “This is my family. Small, and broken, but… still good.” I’m not at all saying that everyone should run right out and get divorced, but there is a silver lining if divorce is what must be. The roller coaster starts and stops at the same elevation… for every low there is a high to counteract it. Good stuff. Sometimes gut wrenching and terrifying, but… still good.
We’re really just at the beginning of the ride. We’ve still got teenage friends, and driver’s licenses, and dances and struggles and all sorts of things I’m probably not even aware of yet. We’ve also got lots of early mornings getting them to school on time, and late evenings struggling with homework. Breakups and quarrels with friends. Dad getting grumpy. A trip to Niagara Falls, and hopefully the Grand Canyon. I hope we drive both those trips and want to pull each other’s hair out halfway there. Songs to sing and tears to shed. Good stuff.
I just hope I live a goodly long time so that when this ride rolls into the empty nest, I can go again with my Grandkids… because I do so love this ride… Some folks are ‘bumper car’ people. Some are ‘lazy river’ people. We’re ‘roller coaster’ people. Not necessarily by choice, but… no matter how we got here, we’re on it for good, and I do so very much love this ride.
Cheers from The ThreeFiveZero Good Stuff
EDIT: I have to correct Stitch. Divorce only breaks the family down into smaller pieces. It only leaves a family permanently broken if you choose not to pick up the pieces and build again. In fact, I’d even say it’s an opportunity to build something even better in some cases like ours. “Small and broken into building blocks,” I’d say, Stitch.
Cheers from The ThreeFiveZero Home