Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Parental Dichotomy

noun | di-chot-o-my
1. a difference between two opposite things: a division into two opposite group.

Perhaps I'm telling you something you already know, but it's worth saying: parenting is dichotomous.

Choose a word to describe what it's like to be a parent, and the opposite is equally true.

Example: Delightful.
Antonym: Terrifying.

Yes, both of those things. Let's try again. 

Example: Exhausting.
Antonym: Invigorating.

Yep, and those. 

Example: Full.
Antonym: Empty.

As in, your heart is full, but your energy level? Empty.

You see, it'll start when you're pregnant. You do and don't want them to come out. You'll say to your belly: please come out now. I can't even roll over. And I'm over this waddle. But then you'll realize, ohmigosh, he has to come out somehow. That should be fun. Maybe give me one more day to mentally prepare.

Children manage to keep you young, while simultaneously taking years off of your life.

You will and you won't want them to grow up.

You can't wait for bedtime, and then as soon as there is a moment of peace, you're able to reflect on the absolute awesomeness of your children and suddenly: you can't wait for them to wake up again.

You don't want to wish away the time that they are little, in fact you want it to last forever... but you definitely do want to wish away the diapers and the tantrums, and the times where you can't manage to find anyone's shoes and you have to be somewhere five minutes ago (or is that just me?)

You will and you won't know where the time has gone. You blinked and you're here. But there were also those incredibly long days, and impossibly long nights along the way.

It's messy, but there's an order to the chaos: breakfast, lunch and dinner, nap time and bedtime, bath time and book time.

There will be moments where you just can't stand another touch, or another whine, or another "up." Kids are so needy! And then, so independent. Five minutes later you'd give anything to be wrapped up in those little arms. Or for him to look back when you drop him off at camp. Just a quick glance and a wave.

Oh and don't forget your children, themselves! One happy, one sad. One asleep, one awake. One crazy, one well-behaved. It will change from moment to moment, and child to child, but the dichotomies and options are endless. Especially if there are more than two.

My theory? Life's greatest concepts are dichotomous. Enjoy the roller coaster, folks!

P.S. I don't say it enough but, you're doing a good job, Mama. (Dads-- you, too.) Let's pass that message on as often as possible. You're doing a good job.

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