Thursday, March 6, 2014

Hard: A Definition

Over the years many people have asked me if my life living in the city is hard.  I have never quite understood the question.  What exactly is hard?  One definition: 

3.
difficult to do or accomplish; fatiguing; troublesome: a hard task.

So, no...it's not hard.  I wake up each day and I take a deep breath---Ready, Set, Go.  And it is kind of like a little race.  I don't sit down much.  I go go go and do do do.  I have found my flow--my groove. One might find it interesting actually.  I do a large percentage of my consuming on the internet.  I order groceries, bulk items, specialty items, patterns, yarn (sometimes), clothes, shoes, toilet paper, diapers the list goes on and on and on....all online.  Before I had a doorman a delivery was a wild affair--me running down the UPS truck so that I could get my box--not worth it!

Now I get a box almost every single day.  I take full advantage of the Amazon Prime account. We're out of pencils? Amazon Prime.  Catching Fire is being released on your birthday? Pre-order! Amazon Prime!. Shoot! Party favors--Amazon Prime!  Mattress! Ski Goggles! Cheez-its! Amazon Prime!

My Point.  Life here isn't that hard.  As I age, I enjoy the required walking and the bundling up (well, this winter is a different story--OVER. IT.) and the adventure that is getting from one place to another.  I am a natural born survivor (learned that in therapy) and living here is sometimes a game of survival.  A brightly dressed woman with an awesome knit hat today was writing repeatedly in her little notebook and yelling out that "THIS WASN'T OVER!" Crazy town is the normal here and so whatever is hard, gets wiped away by the fun.

I'll tell you what is hard.

Raising these children of mine is starting to get hard. Or, maybe I am just in a hard spot.  Lolly from age 18 months-4 was hard.  I was also dealing with depression and side effects of medication and very difficult life stuff, so all of it together was hard, it wasn't just her.  Each child has had a "hard" stage.  Pickle not taking a binky, not sleeping on the go, trying to wean her--she has had little phases that have been hard, but in general I would not call her a hard baby.  

It's not the child herself.  It's not me.  It's complicated.  I was watching my brother and sis-in-law on one of their recent vlogs (5:38) about their impending parenthood.  Jenn was saying how it wasn't really fair that she got to stay home all day and play with the baby while he went to work.  They were laughing and smiling and feeling sorry for the other one and looking at each other with this joy that is unique to that first baby.  They are thinking about onesies and poopy diapers and how are they going to afford it and where will they live.  Of course they should be thinking of that.  

How can they possibly see into the future and know that in 12 years their baby will be talking back and pulling away and begging for more and more independence.  How could they possibly see the concern for how many poopy diapers did the baby have today gradually change into Is he reading at grade level to Can she hear me? Is she listening? 

Have I done all I can?

It has snuck up on me.  "Ten Minutes Ago..." just popped in my head.  It's a pile up of years some long some short and suddenly it adds up to 12.  Is MY Mom sitting at her computer counting through her fingers 3 and a half times awestruck by the same feeling.  35 years might as well have been 35 minutes.

I know it's not over, but about every other day it feels over.  My influence just fading away into oblivion.  Until now I was always the one cutting the ties.  18 Months old! You can go to nursery at church--go on! You can do it. First Day of Kindergarten! Whose my Big Girl! There you go! Go! Go! Go!  3rd Grade Class Play--You've got this! You can do this!  Off you go!  I've always had a little Kick em to the curb approach to separation and challenges and trying new things-go on---get outta here.  

I never really thought about whether or not they were ready--dwelling on that seemed like a waste of emotion and energy--rip the band aid off quickly let's get on with it.
Now she's doing it back to me.  She's just cutting those ties right and left with no regard to my feelings.  Hey now! I wasn't ready for that one.  Come back here! come back here. come. back. here.


(This book! I couldn't get through it without crying this past Winter!!!)

And as I am standing there looking after her, that ponytail flicking behind her.  I take a breath and realize, this is difficult to do.  This is fatiguing... and troublesome...THIS is hard.


20 comments:

  1. You're scaring me. I'm not ready for that. It's coming-just around the corner-but I'm not ready. I need to take more advantage. I need to be more present. I need to be less tired and spend more time with the kids. Your example and wisdom help spur me on. Thank you, dear friend. Good luck with this new era.

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    1. sorry to say it--but it IS right around the corner and I am grateful for our friendship too---we have to be here for each other buoying each other up!

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  2. I have been reading your blog for years and years, and this is my most favorite entry yet. I am about to become a first-time mom (via infant adoption) and this gave me some much needed perspective.

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    1. Andrea! Thank you and best wishes on your adoption-that is such a special, wrenching love. Lucky baby. Lucky Mama

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  3. My first daughter is getting married in about 6 weeks. She has been so emotionally needy though the years. Now I don't hear too much from her beyond wedding plans because she has replaced me with him. I wouldn't want it any other way but....Yep you said it well, this is hard and I will adjust.
    I love city living. We lived in Pittsburgh for almost 10 years and I used public transit w/kids and was so fit and much healthier from the walking and stairs. Keep writing about your life in the city, I love to live through you. I live in No VA and when I go into DC I see the runners at the Mall and think - so cool to do a daily run in such a fun place (I think that about you in NYC).:-)

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    1. So this is the dress rehearsal then for the wedding day? Good to know. THANKS as always for reading!

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    2. This is so well written. I think there is a newspaper or magazine column somewhere that is looking for you. Bravo.

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  4. Within consciously doing so, I am realizing I have put too much of my worth as a mother/person into the fact that two little boys need me. I need to change that right now! This was beautiful!

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    1. Thank you Jen G--wish we were still mothering side by side

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  5. I totally get what you're saying, I got a lump in my throat thinking about my almost 13 year old son while reading it. It is hard.

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    1. aw. I shed a tear or two writing it. Bittersweet.

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  6. I love your blog, K. Somehow, even with a baby boy who is only 9 months old, I can relate to this post. Keep writing, sister. You're so awesome. Your mama must be so proud. XO, Meg (Schutzenhofer) Greenberg

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    1. Thanks Mrs. Greenberg. Wish we were still down the hall from each other.

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    2. Meg, Mama is very proud.

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  7. I get it too! I am not even a parent, and this pulls at me. I nannied for 11 years and those girls were like my own. One is now just turned 14, and the other will be 12 this summer. They are my babies still, and it was hard to let them go and be! I totally know that feeling you're having, and it is hard. They are your babies, and always will be. This post totally tugged at my heartstrings, virtual hugs for you!

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  8. Awesome Post!! My 1st grader shares a birthday with your firstborn (5 years later). The fading "Come back here" is what got me.

    Keep inspiring! Love checking in on your posts. :) Saundi

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    1. Thanks Saundi! You have been such a great supporter over the years!

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  9. This was beautiful. Made me teary. Made me think. My little girl is 7 so I'm not there yet but I know it's on the horizon. Being a parent is so hard. It's so beautiful and so difficult. Trying to do the best I can with these precious people and knowing I mess up so many times each day. "my influence just fading away into oblivion"--ahhhhh! You are killing me! :)
    Loved this post. Loved it.

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    1. Thank you so much for your post. I am sorry I am killing you....I feel quite killed myself! Glad you loved it. Squeeze that sweetie of yours.

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