Friday, October 25, 2013

The Cause and the Cure

I've been reflecting

It's hard to articulate how much my kids mean to me.

As Annabelle's 1st birthday approaches I have actually taken a few moments to reflect on the past year and the enormous responsibility that has come along with it.  And moments are at a premium these days. It would be an over simplification to say that Mrs. LIAYF and I are 'tired'......although in a sense exactly what we are.

Sure, most new parents are tired, or at least some level of tired.  But for me that generalization only scratches the surface.  Moving beyond tired, I'd say that this past year, as wonderful as it has been, has taken a toll on me personally.  Both physically and emotionally.  More so than I imagined it would. Thankfully I am a strong individual and will be fine, but in addition to being worn out, I am feeling mentally taxed too.

As I recently posted, I turned 46 last month.  But it isn't all about being an older father of an infant. As most readers already know, that is hard enough in it's own right. But combine that with a consistent lack of sleep, both Mrs. LIAYF and I working full time jobs (mine reaching a stress level well above anything in the past) and the lack of a support system to help lessen some of the parenting load, and you can perhaps understand why this has been a year where the weight of responsibility has begun to take it's toll.

The stress from work has only compounded the effects of my lack of proper sleep.  Thankfully, there is light at the end of that tunnel.  It is amazing how stress can wear on the body, especially when you are already sleep deprived.  By lack of support system I am talking someone to jump in during those times when you need someone to give you a much needed break from the responsibility of always being present and at full & heightened attention while you are with your kids.

Speaking of that front, for the past year other than when they are at day care or school, Mrs. LIAYF and I have spent a combined 2 hours away from our children.  Yeah, 2 hours.  I didn't drop any zeros there. Having a nearby friend or relative to spell us for even a short time is not a luxury we have right now.

I don't want to over dramatize this.  Mrs. LIAYF and I are both doing fine, and I know that there are many parents who would love to be in the position we are in.  I'm not whining or complaining.  And I know from experience that as the kids get older certain aspects, like the sleep and need for constant supervision will get easier.

The reason I bring any of this up is because while I was pondering the past year and how it has affected me, It really hit me thinking about the things which always draw me into a better place during the times I am feeling overwhelmed.  That would be my terrific kids.

Coming home, and sitting down to dinner with their smiling faces, humor, love, and enthusiasm is a magical elixir which will cure nearly any ill. Seriously.  It's amazing, all I need is for Lukas to make a silly joke and flash me a genuine smile, or for Annabelle to point her little finger at me and emphatically say "Da Daaaa!", or for either of them let me know "I love you Daddy" in their own unique way, and I feel 100% better.  They are wonderful, compact bundles of happiness.

And they never fail to shift my perspective.

Sure, I wouldn't be so tired out if it weren't for the kids.  But I knew it would be a lot of work when I signed on.  And they always remind me, just by being their amazing selves, why I love being a dad so much.

Like I said, it's hard to articulate how much they mean to me.  I guess I'll just say that as hard a job as being a parent is, there is nothing I would give it up for. Nothing at all.

And I guess that speaks for itself.


daniel said...

**** YEAH! I know exactly what you mean. Just sitting around the dinner table, all of you together, THAT is what it is all about. And I totally understand that 2 hours away from the kids. We have ZERO family support and only a couple of friends that we can count on for SHORT amounts of time. And we're going to get on that crazy newborn train again in April/May...

You know what, it's alright to admit to being tired. Far too often we simply reply "fine" whenever anybody asks how we are doing, and it's a lie. Being honest about what is going on is so much better. It's normal. It's natural. You're tired. It's a good (ha) tired, but still.

James (SeattleDad) said...

Thanks daniel. I have always been a 'It's fine' person. But, in all honesty, getting through this period in tact while keeping up with all of life's other responsibilities is a draining thing. Especially trying to maintain a sense of balance in a demanding job. I'm not sure how you do it with as many kids as you have. I have an enormous amount of respect for you and will be keeping tabs next spring, wishing you a smooth transition through the newborn months.

momnextdoor said...

That support system is so key! Lacking one makes anything rougher! Needing time away doesn't mean you love the kids any less...sometimes you just need a break, even from the things/people you love the most.

But, it's great you can appreciate them despite all the craziness! Sometimes that's hard to do! Hang in there! You'll be "fine." :-)