This week has been trying. Correction: this winter has been trying. Correction: this winter has made me really think hard about my state of mind…as in, I might be losing it. A few weeks ago I was having a conversation with a friend about our children. She said, “You know what a good idea kids seemed like before we had them? I mean, everyone was getting married and having kids and it just seemed like such a good plan, I just road that wave until it crashed.” What a great metaphor. I rode the wave, too. And please don’t get me wrong – and please don’t start with the, “one day you’ll miss the crazy” talk. I know. I get it. I adore my children. They are smart, funny, and without a doubt the best thing that I’ve ever done. They’re also the hardest thing I have ever done, and I'm not going to lie, sometimes I long for the carefree life I had before they came along.
I can’t have a conversation anymore that doesn’t get interrupted. I can’t write anymore without someone asking me for something they could probably get for themselves. I can’t sit down for 30 minutes to read without falling asleep because I’m so tired from dealing with other people’s shit all day long. I hear of people planning trips and traveling without their children and I want to punch them in the throat. I need a vacation. Like, last year.
I suppose I wasn’t ever really that carefree, I just had different concerns. This morning, Steve looked at a photo of us on the fridge circa 2005, and said, “God, you look like a baby in this.” Yep. That’s exactly what every almost-40 year old woman wants her husband to say. You know why I look like an old fucking lady? Because that photo was taken pre-children, and raising two kids has aged me more than all the cigarettes I smoked and all the bad decisions I made in the 1990s combined. I have worried myself and stressed myself and aged myself beyond my years and sometimes I just get really, really sad and very selfish about that.
Just last night he asked me if he could get me anything. The kids had gone to bed, but both had called out at least 3 times each for different reasons: I need a drink. My throat hurts. My socks fell off inside the covers. I need a nightlight. I looked at him and I said, “yes. I need a trip to 2004.” “For what?” he said. “For NOT THIS.” I responded, flailing my arms around me like a madwoman. I sound like a terrible asshole. Judge away. It’s just that sometimes all I want in this world is to be alone. Or just to be with Steve without all the noise. Sometimes I forget why I liked him so much in the first place, because it’s never quiet enough for me to remember. I’d like some time without having to think about when to return for the babysitter, or how much we have to pay to have someone else entertain our kids so we can sit at dinner and talk about them.
And there’s the rub. Even when we’re alone, we talk about them. It turns out, our world will always revolve around someone else’s needs. As it has for the last 9 years and will continue to until we die…which is a super uplifting thought. Again, our kids are amazing little people. I also understand this is like having first world problems. I know there are people who would love to have children of their own and can't. People who have WAY worse complaints than children who are needy. But this is my blog and my place to vent, so there. I guess I just wish that someone would have said to us, “Go! Travel and enjoy your time before the kids come. Don’t jump on the wave until you’re certain you’re ready (is anyone ever really ready?) Talk to each other. Be quiet. Just be.” That, or, at least we would have been smart enough to listen when when we were given that advice.