As I obviously have an altar for the Goddess of All Obviousness, permit me to also acknowledge the following:
- Water is wet.
- Sky is blue.
- Sun is bright.
I decided a few months ago to refer my sons as complex, not challenging. While both are true, complex has far fewer negative connotations. They are both complex 3000 piece puzzles with the same repeating pebble image on both sides with one side’s image turned a quarter turn. You have 18 years. Good luck. Care for a drink?
These two boys of mine are hard. A came out of the womb as Advanced Parenting (prerequisite: pregnancy), J as remedial Advanced Parenting (prerequisite: screwing up Advanced Parenting the first time). I have had so many moments of despair, when I have cried to the heavens, wondering why I thought having children was a good idea. Why I thought being a stay at home mom was a good idea. Why I thought getting married was a good idea. I could have been living in Washington, D.C. playing in a military band. The road(s) not taken taunt me in my darkest moments.
And then the Goddess of All Obviousness takes her rolled up Tome of All Things Obvious (it’s thick, tiny print, a gazillion see-through pages, gilded edges) and smacks me across the nose with it. Sometimes I hear her yell “Bad Jen!,” and I cower in a corner. Obviously I was meant to get married, be a stay at home mom and have these complex boys, or I would be living in Washington, D.C., playing in a military band. Obviously the road not taken wasn’t taken for a reason.
Knowing all this still doesn’t make raising these complex boys any easier. Nine years after our simple life blew up in a blaze of sleepless nights welcoming A to our lives, and six years after adding fuel to the fire bringing home J, we still find ourselves weighing the smallest decision with the intensity of say, peace in the Middle East. What other families do without thinking and with great joy is great cause for discussion, conversation, and dialogue. A weekend ski trip? We have to weigh the length of the drive, the temperature up there, the novelty of skiing, the probable overstimulation (through crowds, temperature, lack of control on skis), and the likely probable inevitable desire to leave once we make it up there vs. our ability to cope with all that. Our town is having a campout in the new community park in a few weeks. No.Way. Sleeping in a tent, crowds, novel situation, change in routine vs. not allowed to have alcohol in a public park…ain’t gonna happen. I think that’s what makes summer so difficult for me. Tom is working all day, the boys start to get on each others nerves, and taking them on an outing solo overwhelms me to the point of throwing them on the Legos and praying for quiet. Add to that A’s new habit of seeing something interesting and darting off, and you can see why I eye the duct tape on an hourly basis.
My “stay ahead of the boys” treadmill is starting to stick and sputter. Coping ability is wearing thin. So I hope, dear Goddess of All Obviousness, that you can put in a good word for me to Dude of Advanced Parenting Skills. Because obviously, I need some help here. These complex kids are hard.