Ok, so I get it. This whole parenting thing can be hard. Emotionally. Physically. Spiritually. Financially. I know my hair is greyer, my wrinkles deeper and I’m pretty sure someone smeared jam on my laptop keyboard, but every so often, something happens that makes it all worthwhile.
No, it’s not all the fun I have with my Joe-facts. It was something else.
Honestly, most of the time, I think I’m just no good at this parenting stuff. Like when I forget to tell them to take a raincoat, it (of course), rains in the afternoon. Hell, I seem to forget more than I remember.
I don’t know how the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world does it, how she remembers schedules and hair appointments and other parent’s names and birthdays and what the boys had for supper last Tuesday and hockey practices and water bottles and where their oldest’s phone is and …
It’s a blizzard to me. Maybe I’ll get better with practice, but if anything, the older I get, the worse I’m becoming.
2 years ago, I couldn’t imagine being a parent. I was an awesome Uncle Joe. I would arrive, entertain, play with the kids, listen to their stories, eat some ice cream with them, then leave. I didn’t have to make them do homework or go to bed on time or tell them to stop poking the dog in the bum.
It was all fun and games.
Now I worry when they don’t call on time. I race to a hockey rinks at 6am. I nag them about doing math. I leap across a counter to stop the Youngest from juggling steak knives. I bug them about not interrupting. And sometimes, far more often than I ever should, I have to raise my voice to be heard above Plants vs Zombies or Youtube video about spooky-ass animatronic animals that creep up on you in the dark.
Instead, I fear I may be a cautionary tale. That parent all the other parents shake their heads at and say, well at least I’m not like THAT guy!
But maybe all parents feel that way. Maybe they’re all trying to figure it out and while it may look like they have it all together on the outside, deep down, someone in their family is wearing yesterday’s underwear.
So, yeah, back to what makes it all worthwhile.
It was a simple thing. I was in my usual after-school mode of making sure lunch boxes got put by the dishwasher, that ice packs got put in the fridge, that homework was put on the table, when the Youngest went over to our family board and wrote something on it.
It wasn’t said, like “Yoer a good stepdad, now can I have a popsicle?” or “Yoer the best, Joe, can I get a bow and arrow set tomorrow?” It was just said.
And it made all the difference in the world.
So maybe I’m not the complete disaster.
Or maybe I’m just easily flattered.