My wife’s birthday is tomorrow. For a few days in July we are the same age, my birthday at the beginning of the month and her’s at the end, and tomorrow we go back to her being older than me. She took off work yesterday and we decided to drive down to the beach for the day.
Seems innocent enough.
Let me provide some background here. Like many families on the east coast, I grew up going to the beach in the summer for a week at a time. My dad’s side of the family would rent a house or two and the majority of the extended family would all do the week together. Eventually, my two aunts and my dad all purchased houses near the Delaware beaches and it became easier to visit.
When you spend years making the trip, you learn some things. One is, during the season, you don’t go down on a Saturday morning. Renters cycle through on the weekends and that is the day most travel to and from their properties. Usually, we’d go the night before and do the drive around midnight. This time we didn’t.
It took six hours.
Six hours to make the drive that normally happens in half the time. With two kids in the car. One who fell asleep at two in the morning the night before and the other that woke before seven. Can you imagine?
We finally arrived and spent a few hours on the beach, had dinner at my dad’s house, and went back to the boardwalk before driving home. Overall, I spent almost ten hours behind the wheel.
This week there was one of those click-bait articles on Facebook about Losing Yourself when you have kids. The concept has been in my head since then and, as Carter just locked himself in his bedroom because I told him he couldn’t watch television and Val just switched with me as I had been attempting to put Aiden to sleep for the last hour and fifteen minutes, Losing Yourself seems like a valid idea.
I mean, what happens when we become parents (and by “parents” I mean people who care, not those who earned the title only by having a kid and refuse to make any effort)?
Our kids are with us always, whether they are six or thirty-six. They pull on our hearts. They are mirrors in which we see our good and bad sides, success and failure. They are complicated, dramatic, energetic, demanding, pushy little people. They bless and stress all at once.
In some way, creating another life reflects our divine calling. We are have the inborn desire to create. We want connection and we find partners who are willing to make the journey with us. We find supports and hands to hold when the trail gets rocky.
It is a question of balance.
Yes I have goals for myself. Val and I have goals for our marriage. We hope and pray and dream about the future.
This is just one of those nights where the gas tank is empty.
Carter opened his door and I made sure he went to bed without television. Val is still in with Aiden. In a few hours, she’ll be looking at another year of life.
We’re tired. Stressed. The couch and popcorn sound so much better than working out. I’m ready to close the book on this weekend, even though tomorrow is Monday again.
We’ll make it through. The dreams and goals still exist and we will get there.
Someday. (About a minute after this final period was typed, the cat threw up in the living room on the carpet. See what I’m saying? Off to get some paper towels.)