Our boys are very simply, magnificent. They are cherubic angels sprinkled with fairy dust sent to bring joy to a cruel and unforgiving world. This I believe. They are also 4 and 2 years old, respectively. So between bursts of sunlight and sparkles they can really be a challenge.
The emotional stability of my boys is reasonably questioned. The boundless energy they display is matched only by the sheer vigor of their mood swings. Laughter is only seconds from tears and vice-versa. It has a way of keeping you on your toes at first. But like all creatures we adapt. After a short time it becomes little more then white noise. Our ears and brains develop a filter that allows in the noises that mean something real is wrong and block the rest of the calamitous cacophony often arising around the corner. If it didn’t we’d surely go mad!
When you combine this with fair doses of competition for attention, stubbornness, the logistical requirements of properly caring for people that are proud pants-poopers and the ever encroaching hospitalization for exhaustion that my wife and I have a bag prepped for, we haven’t done much adventuring in these early years. Figuring it out day to day has been a good deal of adventure in and of itself.
We marvel at families that travel regularly with small children. We are prone to bouts of shell-shock after particularly bad car trips in excess of 2 hours. Flight? Are you kidding me! Forget the obvious
excuse reason we don’t do this, we have a kid with anaphylactic food allergies, we could give a good list of 10 other reasons why it would be too much just to get to the plane. Forget the extreme likelihood that the two year old would escape and open a door in flight. We don’t know how these people find the money! Kids are freaking crazy expensive. We do fine, but we can’t be messing around blowing hundreds of dollars on travel that will surely end with a plane full of people being sucked out mid-flight because I can’t catch the little one. He’s squirmy. And determined. No thank you.
That said there are signs indicating that our families self-imposed period of semi-quarantined early childhood might be transitioning. It’s thrilling to think that soon we might be able to schedule a few trips, get our kids out and about now that some sense of stability and regular sleep patterns is just around the corner.
I’m excited to think of taking them to baseball games and camping. I’m looking forward to seeing them off to school, real school, not the daycare we’ve been calling school for years. I’m excited to think that seeing relatives far away will be more frequent if not exactly as frequent as we’d like. Real vacations might be upon us again in the not too distant future and it’s exciting. We’ve even made the loosest of plans to take them to our favorite vacation spot in the Adirondacks this year and to go and stay a night or two with their cousins and have some fun family time at the end of the summer.
I spend a fair amount of time these days soaking in the end of the little one’s phase, but their really is so much to look forward to. I have very warm feelings about this time when we all became a family. Everything from finding out we’d have Charlie, to moving to New Jersey, to buying our home and welcoming Teddy into it, through becoming fully able and capable caregivers, a journey that is equal parts depleting and replenishing. Still I find myself here looking forward to all that’s yet to come.
The family trips will be exciting and tiring and full of memories. The many successes and failures that we will be able to guide them through and the ones they will have to navigate on their own. The days I plan to keep them home and have adventures when I can connect with them naturally and excitedly. The teen years of anger and testosterone when frustration and exuberance are met with verve and curiosity. I can’t wait to take pictures of them before dances and have surprising conversations that reveal how much more is there then a parent often can see. I can’t wait for them to fall in love. I’m even looking forward to the heartbreak and pain, knowing it will tear me up as well. I can’t wait to see what sparks their imagination and motivates them simply out of interest, a need to do something. I want to know who these kids are going to be when they become adults and I want to see every step I can in the process. For those steps they have to take on their own I look forward to hearing about it years later when it’s all from a part of life that might have been really hard to live through but is looked back on with fondness for all its dynamic growth and tumult.
All of it that I sometimes don’t want to let go of, all of it that I fear before it’s arrival, all of it will make my boys who they are going to be and I’m so happy to be here to see it, to help, to worry. to laugh and to marvel.