Wherever we find ourselves, at whatever age, there’s always some goin’ on

There was a time when I was certain I had it all figured out.  I had things mapped out and if you asked me I would be glad to tell you how things would go.  In fact, I did just that in front of my whole fraternity when I was 19.  I thought I pretty much knew myself, who I was and what I was.  The fact was I had no idea; about any of it really.

The map got blown clear to kingdom come when I was 20.  The “farm crisis” that happened about that time meant I was most likely going to have to chart a new course.  After a semester or so of drifting along I decided pre-med was the best way to ruin my GPA and lose my Ag. College scholarships so that’s the way I went.  Over the course of the next year I accomplished that mission.  I always try to complete what I start.  So, back to the drawing board I went and another attempt to start something else.  This time it would only take me six years to find something I really took to and it would come largely by chance.

After completely marrying above my pay grade when I was 24 to a girl who had vowed to me and others to be a part of a DINK (dual income no kids) household somehow we had a baby.  I shouldn’t say somehow because we both understood the physiology, we just hadn’t really planned things this way.  Maybe the plan failed because we failed to plan.  Who knows?  The bottom line was we had a whole person we were now in charge of and although I dare not say what my wife’s opinion of kids was but I was pretty lukewarm to the idea.

I’d never really disliked kids I just hadn’t ever been all that interested in them.  My limited experience was they were loud, cried a lot, took a bunch of time and made a lot of messes that you then had to clean up.  Turns out my assessment (for once) was pretty spot-on.

We had this little boy and named him Nate.  He was pretty loud at times.  He used to make this sort of groany-gaspy noise before he could talk and we’d groan-gasp back and forth while we were in the car.  If someone had seen us they most likely would have assumed we were some sort of alien life form in conversation.  As expected, Nate cried sometimes, like the time we took his pacifier and clipped the tip off.  Talk about a look of betrayal!  Who knows if we scarred him for life but it did the trick.  That hunk of plastic was about as worthless as it could get after our little surgery.  Nate was an easy baby but caring for a little human takes time and lots of it.  The good thing was I found that I fit into that role easier than any role I’d ever been thrust into.  I’ve talked about Dad-dom before but even today when the kids are older and their messes are less spilled Cheerios and Braunschweiger and more insurance and tuition I still revel in the privilege and honor of being involved in the cleanup.  If you ask them today they’d probably say that with many cleanups a lesson is included free of charge whether they want it or not.  Little do they know they’ve been giving me an education for over 27 years.

I’m convinced the older you get the more you realize how much you don’t know and I’m no exception.  When my wife and I started this whole family thing so long ago I had no idea I was signing on for the most serendipitous accumulation of knowledge I would ever experience.  I’ve learned what I value because I’ve had to choose between sitting with the grownups or at the kid table so I can keep some resemblance of order.  It turns out, even today; I still prefer the kid table.   I found out that I don’t mind loud kids and crying.  I think being loud means you have a gusto toward life that a lot of adults could do with a little more of and the crying just means there’s an opportunity to make things better.  Who knew I’d find out I like to do that for other people’s kids too?  I’ve learned so much because the kids have asked me where I stand on things.  I’ve had to determine what’s really important.  Sometimes the chance to help them learn where the wheels fell off is absolutely more valuable than the opportunity to chew them out.  I don’t do much chewing and I know this for sure; I’ve been lucky in that respect.

People say kids are our hope.  Sometimes they say kids are the best reflection of us.  Still other times kids are held up as one of the last vestiges of innocence, magic and discovery.  “They” are all right on all counts but in my opinion kids are more than that.  In fact, kids are such a big deal and so many things not only to me but to all parents I won’t really try to quantify or explain fully.  I just know how fortunate I’ve been to be a part of three people’s lives who I love so much.  I didn’t know the education I was in for when I was 27 and I don’t know how much more I’ll learn now that I’m 52 but I know that it’s coming and I know that it will be wonderful.

I’ve gotten more comfortable embracing the unknown and diminishing my anxiety about the uncertain over the years.  Maybe that’s because I know how much the experience has taught me, especially regarding the kids.  I hope you’ll pass this along to someone who might be deep in the throes of raising kids if you think it might calm them down just a bit and allow them to enjoy the ride.

I write weekly in my blog about life and the stuff that it brings.  If you want to read more you can click here to go to it.  If you like what you read you can subscribe for free by clicking this.  Subscribing means you will get an email on Saturdays with links to the week’s post, nothing more nothing less, so no worries about spam since I never sell or share emails.