There are days when I think I’ve got this parenting thing down and I can handle anything Carson and Beckett throw my way, but there are also times when I wonder how I became so emotionally fragile when it comes to my kids and whether I have what it takes to navigate this wild adventure.
Smiles and laughs from my kids can make me forget about anything.
That’s how I felt over most of the long three-day weekend.
When I left the office on Friday afternoon, I resolved to put work out of my head and to actually take three days off without any visits to the office or any sort of work.
While I did manage to sneak a few computer minutes in here and there, for the most part I was able to do that, thanks largely to the fact Pam and I were busy throughout the weekend with the kids.
Whether it was the pool, playground, cooking out or the beach, we were basically all kids, all the time during the holiday weekend. It was a super way to bring in summer.
At one point over the weekend, I was in the pool with Beckett and Carson for over four hours. It was heaven. Pam was serving up juice boxes and snacks in between getting some relaxation poolside, while the kids played incredibly hard and actually seemed to entertain themselves for long periods of time.
At some point, probably during a 20-minute spell when I was not asked to throw one of them across the pool or have a cannonball splash contest with Beckett, I realized this would not have been possible last summer.
One, or both, of the kids would have not been content and wanted out to do something else, whatever that would be.
That was not the case last weekend and it was delightful. Throughout the weekend, “life is good” came to mind many times, and it was quite cathartic after a crazy week.
In my line of work, it’s the week leading up to the big holiday weekend that’s insanely busy. I am blessed to be able to live at the beach and not have to work weekends. Instead, folks like me and my staff face volumes of work in the days leading up to the weekend. Come Friday, the end result being three days off to do whatever we want.
The prize dangling at the end of the week for me was three days with the family, and the boys made it a wonderfully memorable weekend.
In their own ways, each were excited for the return of all things summer and they knew what that meant. Lots of swimming in the pool and playing on the beach mixed with some of their favorite foods as well as visits from friends and family. Generally, they loved it all, particularly the lack of structure.
While an entertaining weekend, it was also exhausting for all of us.
It was so much so the kids were in bed by 7 each night and their parents by 10. Rest was a must to do it all over again the next day.
Each morning I woke up incredibly sore, largely from all those kid pool throws and rocket launches and sun and fun indulgence. There’s nothing like dozens of 45-pound kid throws to remind me the body does not respond as well as it once did.
It was all worth it. The weather was unbelievable and the kids were great to be with and excited to do anything and everything.
By the end of the weekend, I was feeling good about myself as a parent and loving life.
The opposite extreme came Tuesday night when I came home from the office already stung from the bite of work reality.
Misbehavior from not listening was ruling the house.
There’s nothing quite like walking into the house to kids running around with reckless abandon screaming this and that and refusing to listen to anything. I could tell from one look on my wife’s face what was happening. It was going to be a night of rowdiness and some parental frustrations.
Perhaps it was inevitable after such a wonderful weekend.
Whatever the case, both kids were incredibly amped after coming home from day care that day.
There was an organized rebellion underway and clearly Carson and Beckett had cooked up a competition to see who could misbehave, not listen and make a mess of the house more than the other. At one memorable moment, both had managed to move the furniture blocking the fireplace and were standing on it screaming at the top of their lungs, despite the fact they know the fireplace is off limits and has been since they were born.
It was a close contest to see who won the prize that night for most difficult and at one point I thought to myself I should fake a grocery store run as a necessity. That was until I realized I had just gotten home from the store and the groceries were still unpacked in the kitchen.
With neither kid eating much dinner that night, I offered a bath as a means to hopefully settle them down. It usually does do the trick and it helped on this particular night quite a bit, but it was not much fun for me as the non-listening continued, resulting in me needing a change of clothes from the kids’ water aerobics antics.
Yes, the roller coaster ride that is parenting was in full swing this week, and I was just holding on tight in the hopes of not falling off.