The Things I Hate…but Am Still Grateful For

Writing family stories five days a week? CHECK. Welcome back to ParentalGrit, where it is GRATITUDE week. We dove into an overview of the topic on Monday and described a tough NICU battle Tuesday and Wednesday. After sharing the terrifyingly stressful birth of my second daughter the last two days, we’re lightening up and speaking to several items that test my sanity but I remain grateful for. It’s funny how, when we reflect back on our lives, the most difficult times often stand out as our most cherished memories. I didn’t love my Eliza blowing out her car seat on an 8-hour road trip in terrible conditions, but it’s always a good time to relive many months later.

The sleep deprivation memes that run amok across social media really aren’t exaggerated; having kids, especially infants, virtually eliminates the possible of quality and/or consistent sleep. My wife and I are running on nearly three years without a decent successful run of sleep, but we’re still mostly capable of disguising it at work and in public. In the middle of the night, when the toddler whimpers or the baby howls, we’re not always great about keeping it together. My wife and I have a good relationship during waking hours…but we can’t be held responsible for what gets muttered in the hazy fog of a 3 am wakeup call. Still, gratitude and all, so it’s hard to be too upset when Eliza softly cries out for daddy in the middle of the night.

As the toddler grows older, her intelligence has proved frustrating. I’m all for my daughter growing up smart, but it’s not an easy ride as the kids start to push back. I’m caught in psychological warfare with a two year old, who knows just how to talk back in the sweetest yet orneriest manner possible. Eliza not only has reached the stage where she can maneuver herself into each and every crevice of our home, but also the point where she tries all forms of manipulation to get what she wants. Crying, throwing a fit, pretending to be thirsty…everything’s on the table now with my oldest daughter. And yet, gratitude and all, I am blessed to witness (and discipline) her developing mind.

I love my daughters with all I have, but for new parents it’s not always easy to adjust to the different lifestyle. Alone time for my wife and I is basically reduced to showers, and even those are often interrupted by the peering curiosity of a rambunctious toddler. There are no such things as solo bathroom visits with Miss Eliza on patrol. It’s a glorious feeling to be a parent…but it can eventually introduce periods of overwhelm. When the kid becomes kids, you’ve basically eliminated all opportunities for alone time by yourself and alone time with your spouse. That’s definitely a bit of an exaggeration, but it takes concerted effort to finagle those spare moments. However, gratitude and all, I love every minute with my girls and can’t imagine a world without them…we can catch up on alone time in another thirty years or so.

Parenthood is a wild ride of exhausting stress that produces the best experiences. I vent and moan about the whirlwind life we lead now with two daughters in tow, but wholly admit I wouldn’t have it any other way. My three items of gratitude today are…my wife and two daughters. That’s a bit of a cheat but I have a strong feeling my baby will be stirring shortly. Cheers.

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