When I decided to have kids, I was unsure of my ability to excel at the role.  I'm not a warm-hearted person by nature and I wondered if I'd find the ability within myself to love a child they way it needed and not just the way I needed.  Friends tell me that they didn't realize it would be so hard until they actually had kids.  That they didn't fully comprehend how the lack of sleep and the exhaustion and the time management issues and the taking forty-five minutes now to do what would have taken ten before would affect them until they actually experienced it.  And they're right. How could you?  It's hard, ya'll.  It's exhausting, demoralizing, tedious, thankless, and a hundred other -ings and -lesses.  But that's still not the worst part.

The worst part of parenting isn't the sleepless nights, the diapers, the feedings, the potty training, the laundry, the homework, or the arguing with six year old (or ten year old) logic. The worst part of parenting is that no matter how many of those things you do that you hate, no matter how well or how badly you deal with it today, no matter how many conversations you have about why you have to clean your ears, or why you need to wipe after using the toilet... every time, or how many times you explain what will happen if you keep half-eaten sandwiches underneath your bed for three months, or how much laundry you get done, or how much homework you supervise, or even how ahead of the game you got by cleaning the whole the house today... the worst part is knowing that tomorrow... tomorrow, you're going to have to do every one of those things again.  It's like if you were in the movie Groundhog Day, but the rest of the world just kept on moving forward and it's only you that are stuck having the same conversations over and over again and redoing the same chores that someone undid for you the second you turned your back.

It's not that I think I shouldn't have to do those things, it's just that I think after the tenth or twelfth time I have the same conversation, some of it should start to sink in.  That my ten year old should by now, after hundreds of reasonings, exhortations, and arguments on the subject, should have stopped wandering out into the living room and a crowd of house guests, dripping wet after a shower, wearing only a towel... because I've explained the hows and whys... that the showering process includes drying off and getting dressed IN the bathroom... so many times before.  I love them with every fiber of my being, but I simply cannot get used to why some things simply cannot just... move forward.

It's like Louis C. K. says,

“Any parent who is honest will tell you, you live with that ambivalence. You look at the face of your beautiful, lovely child and you think two things at the exact same time: ‘I love this kid so much that it's changed my whole life. I love other people more because of how much I love her. I love people that died years ago more. My love has traveled through time because of how completely I love her and she loves me back. She’s completely given value to life that didn’t exist before and I regret every decision that led to her birth’. That’s how it feels.”

Once I was giving a lift to a friend in my car and someone cut me off in traffic, nearly running me off the road.  I yelled something at the driver, I don't remember what now, but I'm sure it was appropriately sarcastic and acid-toned.  My friend said quietly -- and without any guile or cynicism whatsoever, without even the Pollyannaish tone you'd expect, "Maybe his wife is pregnant and he's trying to get her to the hospital."  I thought to myself, this person is better than anyone I know and anyone I will ever be no matter how hard I try. Gag. Sure, his scenario is not likely, but you know what I realize now? It's not impossible either.

I'm certainly not the first person to deal with angst, I'm aware.  I think even when we don't have kids, we have to learn to get past the day in, day out-ness of life.   I learned a long time ago at my workplace to make peace with the fact that no matter how hard or how I work, there will always be more to do and conversations I'll have over and over again... even when I write the information down so people will not have to ask me again in the future, they still will... and maybe that's okay in the grand scheme of things.  For some reason, it's easy for me to accept that about my job; not so easy to accept about my parenting experience.  The KingofHearts says he has the opposite issue.  Perhaps that's why he's had more jobs since we've been married than I've had my entire life.  Of course, he's had more marriages too. *I kid, I kid*

What I've been trying to keep in mind is that it's all a choice.  How I feel about the realities of my decisions isn't a foregone conclusion, but rather how I decide to look at it.  To borrow a line, I am not going to sit on my ass as the events that affect me unfold to determine the course of my life. I'm going to take a stand. I'm going to defend it. Right or wrong, I'm going to defend it.

My stand is that it's good.  This life.  These children.  This family.  Sure, it's hard, it's boring, it's tedious sometimes, but then I have these moments where we do the Monkees walk together in the Home Depot parking lot, or where I've been woken up - again - to the sounds of a six year old making me a breakfast-in-bed tray of four crackers, six tortilla chips, a yogurt and a Diet Coke.  On paper, it probably doesn't overshadow the other stuff, but I choose to think that it does, regardless.  I choose to love my life.

Even David Foster Wallace wasn't able to keep ahold of this world view all the time and his depression eventually got the better of him.  I don't mean to present a simplistic view of depression.  It's way more nuanced and complicated than just "Stop it!"  I wish it were that easy.  It's not. But for now, I choose to be happy.  I choose to recognize that this is water.