Friday, January 22, 2021

Back when we were knee deep in onesies, Barbie dolls, and crusty old sippy cups


A few years ago, I posted this video on Facebook, accompanied by these words:

Parents of young children, I know you're tired. I get it. I spent several years living the life you're living now. But believe me when I say you're going to miss the chaos. It's a lot of fun having older kids, but I would love to go back and relive moments like this one every once in a while. Which I suppose I could, but I might not survive if they all smothered me like this now. This was shot in late October 2001, which would have made Elissa 7, Chloe 5, Jared 3, and Melanie a little more than a year old (and Jack that proverbial twinkle in the eye).

All four kids shown in this video are now in their 20s. And as noted, our youngest was still 4+ years away from being born.

Having little kids is an exhausting business. It requires constant mental alertness, emotional investment, and physical exertion. You are part teacher, part caretaker, and part goat herder.

When we were in this stage of parenthood, people often told me to enjoy it, that someday it would be gone and I would miss it, etc. It's not that I didn't believe them, I just never really thought very far ahead in those days. It was always about getting through that particular week.

Not that life suddenly becomes a cakewalk when your kids get older, but I do find I have lot more room to breathe in 2021 than I did in 2001. Just from a stress perspective, it's better to be here than there.

But every once in a while, when it's quiet in our house in the evening, I find myself missing the chaos of two decades ago. There was always a diaper to change, a child to feed, a crier to attend to. It was all Barney, Teletubbies, Winnie the Pooh, and whatever PBS Kids had to offer up that day. It was loud, tiring, and frankly annoying more times than I care to admit.

But it was also wonderful. All of it. I realize the distance of time accentuates the positive and eliminates the negative, but even then, there was a part of me that knew I had it good.

I still have it good. I wouldn't want to go back to that time for all the money in the world.

Maybe just a 10-minute visit, though. Just long enough to hold a happy baby, do zerberts on some toddler's soft belly, and get in a quick game of Candyland.

That would be nice.

Maybe that's what grandkids are for...reliving the best parts of the maelstrom of parenthood that, in truth, passed by all too fast without you realizing it.

I wouldn't know. We're not in that stage of life...yet. But it's coming.

In the meantime, I have the memories. And thanks to digital technology, I have the videos.

For now, that's enough.

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