The Parenting Marathon

So I’m driving across town for the second time today and the sixth time this week to go pick up my girls from water polo. It made me stop and think about how we as parents sacrifice the best years of our lives to put such a huge amount of time into getting the next generation of humans launched.

My parents and all they did for me came to mind. Immediately while I was in this thought process I flashed back to when I was 17 (and that makes my dad about 38) and going to prom.

While getting ready to go, I was so excited and rushing. I just kept punching through pantyhose. I was making runs or ripping them all together and he kept going back to the Safeway and getting another set. He must’ve made at least three trips.

At the time he just seemed so old (38) and that it was just kind of his job to go and do stuff for me. So now that I’m the one who’s “old”, I realize that seventeen-year-olds can be very selfish, and I’m in for a quadruple shot all in a row.

I’m just talking about the older kids because I figure by the time Lincoln is 17, I might be using a cane and having her brother and sisters do all the work.

I understand that my kids think that I’m supposed to do everything for them and the way the whole world works is to cater to their needs. After all, that’s what I did for them when they were little kids because… well because I love them.

We are just going through those early teen years and adjusting to the fact they are whole human beings that CAN and SHOULD do things for themselves. As a family, we are working on gratitude and recognizing that we do a lot of shit for them.

I remember that my folks drove me to so many different activities that I wanted to be involved in. There was different tutu gear for ballet, tracksuits and shoes, and tons of money put in so that I could be a flag girl for the high school band.

There were many different things that I promised I was going to really follow through on if my parents just bought me the stuff.

Half of the time I would end up dropping out of it because I was just not into it, or it wasn’t my thing.

I sure wish I stuck with piano lessons. Or wore my flipping retainers. ?

But then I think about all the kind of effort it took to get me to flag girl practice in high school. To wait out on the cold dark field to pick me up at practice at 10 pm at night. I would always be freezing cold, so Mom would put me in a warm bath and soak my feet and rub my back.

I was really lucky to have parents like them backing me.

And now it’s me! I’ve been all over Huntington Beach to all of these places to encourage my kiddos to find a sport they enjoy. I was always encouraged because of the physical size of the kids, to push them towards sports, because they will be naturally very tall.

Then there is the money. I come up with the money somewhere… God knows all the crap, all the karate gear, and the water polo gear, and the baseball, basketball, swim team, cheerleading gear. The volleyball balls and knee pads. Packed snacks. Evenings and weekends spent on fields, gyms, and pools.

It’s a lot of money and a lot of our time, and the kids don’t get it at all. Probably not until about 30 years later when it is their money and their time.

Listen, I’m not saying I would have it any other way. I am exhausted and rundown and I don’t really feel like driving across town at 7:30 at night after I’ve just started cooking dinner.

Especially because I have to go back home, feed my kids, get them bathed and to bed and then do the dishes and start all over tomorrow.

I just have to take a deep sigh and remember this is just what we signed up for and it’s what we do. I’m not alone. I know this is true. There is a whole army of exhausted parents out there who are doing this same exhausting routine.

They work all day and show up at night to support their kids and whatever activity they are doing.

We pay the bills. We run the household and make it happen so that these kids one day can do the same for another generation!

I need a nap.