Observations from Today

When you have babies and toddlers and older parents tell you that parenting gets harder (but in a different way) it can be so hard to believe! How can these days get any more challenging and exhausting? I have surely asked that!

Today I had a taste of the mental exhaustion of parenting.

While driving J to school, and on the way to pick him up I had lengthy conversations with each older child.

J wanted to know why I wasn't pushing the accelerator which led to a lesson in cruise control, highway and interstate names, speed limits and was followed by a lengthy prosecutorial question and answer session about where I hit the deer with the van, how, why I hit the deer and why I didn't sop and bring the deer home. How did I know it wasn't dead, why didn't I stop, again? By the time we reached school I was done in.

The way in for pick up we discussed whether princesses were real, why some were real and others not and which ones were legit. On the way home I repeatedly stated that no, we were not stopping for a snack and would have popcorn at home. (Apparently one must state that at least eight times before it sinks into persistently hard noggins!)

We also pulled over to the side of the road and I physically got out of the car and stood by the window of the six year old and explained that it is not acceptable to throw a fit because your siblings watched tv while you were at school. The sting of writing the hefty check to pay for the semester may have had added to the passion of my conversation. I mean, really, after a day at school, playing with good friends, eating pizza and cookies with icing, you're gonna complain because you missed a few episodes of PBS kids? (In a weak moment I fell asleep on the floor during Daniel Tiger and woke up to Sid the Science Kid, so it was more than a few episodes....oops!) As a result of our conversation, there was no tv today and may not be tomorrow as I was frequently informed by the six year old pizza and iced cookie eating kid that he had not had any fun today. Yeah.

Mental exhaustion. Brain flooded with talk. I'm a thinker whose brain never really stops so quiet time rejuvenates me and too much of everything causes a shut down of sorts.

Anyway, not to complain, but merely explain!

Oh, then in the midst of this after I dropped J off, I decided that since I was child-free for a moment to get a good cup of coffee for the homeward commute and ran into Broad Street. (I also got a killer croissant, but that's another story.) I walked in around 8:20 and there were all these adults drinking good coffee, having subdued conversations and eating good pastries and baked goods. There was not a small child in sight. A man from church said hello and said they'd just finished a Bible study time. Another older friend was holding court with a table full of friends. My jaw dropped. PEOPLE DO THIS ALL THE TIME!

Oh, yes. My jaw dropped. It was an epiphany similar to when a young child wakes in the middle of his slumber and discovers his parents (no, not that!!!) and friends up late playing board games and eating fresh baked cookies or peanut butter pie and realizes that really fun things happen while they are asleep.

It was an eye opener really and like Liz Lemon, "I want to go to there".

Of course, that is not the reality of my calling these days...much as I would occasionally wish it to be! But one day I will! Like the couple that ran around in their skivvies at home for weeks after their youngest left for college, just because they could the first few weeks of R's freshman year you may find me at Broad Street every morning drinking coffee and eating a chocolate croissant just because I can. I'm sure I will do something profitable the other hours of those days and after those weeks, but at first...!

But until then I will listen, listen, listen and answer repeatedly and hug my kids and change epic diapers and remind them repeatedly of how much I love them and how much more Jesus loves them.

And find there's a lot more satisfaction in that than spending my mornings at Broad Street.