Early mornings

Here I sit, listening to the sounds of my sleepy home. Being woken up at 3 am to the sounds of my daughter crying. Sometimes the medicine she has to take to help her use the bathroom works too well in the middle of the night. Having stripped bedding, started laundry, cleaned her up and put her back to sleep, my mind is in overdrive. These morning are spent validating my role as a dad.

As I ruminate over the last five crazy years, I look at the changes that I have gone through. Culminating in the birthday celebrations of the previous four days, I now have a six year old.

A six year old.

Where has the time gone? Better yet, what have I done with this time that I have been given? As I listen to the sleeping sounds of my children, my pregnant beloved, and even our dog, I am left to wonder about it all. I see the struggles that no one else sees. The hard times we have been through. The mountains we have had to climb either dragging the kids with us, or chasing them upwards. I know, parenting, done right, is never easy.

But what about rest? What about finding time to be still? “You need to stop and smell the roses” is something I hear far too often. However, even when I try in earnest, days like today happen. Over and over again. I took a vacation to spend time with family. To get away from stress. To rest and be still. Instead, every single day I have been sleeping less and less.

But, there is time with the kids. There have been moments. Unintentionally amazing moments and memories. Laughter, tickle fights, nature walks, even lazy cuddle on the couch and watch Peg + Cat moments. So, why am I exhausted?

It has been a full five years. From the moment Zoey came on the scene things needed to be different. There were new words to learn, procedures to discuss, pain and fear to work through. All while maintaining a brave face. Not for anyone other than Zoey. She never demanded, but has always deserved my best. Such a strong and brave soul is contained in that little body.

This translated to being the dad that David has needed. He is the embodiment of the thing so many parents say under their breath. “Someday you will have a kid just like you…”. Yeah, I do. Smart, adventurous, aggressive, defiant, little version of me. Still, my little buddy. Showing me countless times that long after I am gone he will be there to take care of his siblings. I know he will do well, just have to keep him alive.

Following the twin tornadoes (seriously what David and Zoey can do to a house in five minuets is mind blowing) comes my respite. Sweet little Jacob. The most mild mannered of the three. Happy to run and play, or cuddle just the same. Quick with a smile, a hug, a laugh. But, he is nearing two, and the signs are there. This is going to be a fun round of the terrible twos.

I know not what #4 will bring. What special kind of chaos he will add to this mixing pot of a family. But, I am as ready as I can be for him to arrive.
All of this is a good kind of exhausting. But does it need to be exhausting? This is the question I ask myself over and over. I am sure that, someday, I will be able to find a pattern that will allow sleep. Though it really is not about the amount of sleep. It is about finding time to be still.

Time to go change the laundry, and empty the dishwasher.

Live big, love bigger, and be kind, always.

*edit notes: So, I tried to use speech to text, during the hours of 3 and 4 in the morning, while exhausted, to write this post. All that I have done today was fix some grammar and word use issues that were driving me nuts.

Exhaustion deep in the marrow of my bones

I am tired. I can feel the exhaustion deep in the marrow of my bones. With a heaviness I move through each step, continuing to drive on.  I watch the time pass by, like the flutter of a dragonfly’s wings. With the rising sun I draw in a breath. I open my eyes as the warm summer morning light bathes me. Forward, I continue. My drive is ceaseless and resilient. One more day has ended, and another one is here.  Just another day beginning in my life. What will I uncover, achieve, learn, or find today? That question is the one that greets me, and I always strive to answer.

For years it has kind of been my thing; burning the candle on all ends. I seem to have an innate talent for finding more ends of said candle that many did not even know existed. Normally I can find some respite in completing a project, or finding some down time with the family. As of late, that has not been the case. I see an endless list of things to do, looming deadlines, and the intense desire to ‘find time’ with my family.

You know it is bad when your Fitbit tells you that you need to get sleep. I guess that a declining average that hovers around three hours and fifteen minutes of interrupted sleep starts to wear on you. The excuse that I keep giving myself is that “This is fatherhood”. This is the marrow, the meat, of all that we do as dads.  In a seemingly thankless spiral of activity we fix things, we clean things, we do yard work, we spend time, we make time, we give up time. All for the chance of a smile from a child. For the late night, sleepy “I love you daddy” that calls to us from a sea of pillows and blankets. For the tight, reassuring squeezes when we rush into a room to fend off the nightmare monsters. We expend ourselves to the fullest, for those that matter the most.

Today, as I settled in for a long day of meetings, something different occurred. I pulled out my wallet, and saw a piece of paper sticking out. I am not a keeper of receipts, so this struck me as odd. As I pulled it out of my wallet, I could tell that it was the paper that we usually use for our shopping list. However, I could not remember leaving one in my wallet. What I did not know, what I could not know, was what this piece of paper was going to do to me. On this piece of paper was a note from my beloved bride.

The words reached deep into the marrow of my aching bones.

My wife has been my best friend from almost the moment that we met. It has been an honor to be the one that she can lean on when needed. It is also a show of her force as a person that she can be the one that I lean on when I need to. But, this little note, her love filled words, reached deep into the marrow of those same aching bones. She wanted to let me know that she sees me. That she sees all that I am doing, and that she loves me for it.

Marrow warming note

 

I read the note two or three times, reached into my desk, pulled out a pin, and pinned it to my wall. I want it to serve as a constant reminder, each day. A reminder that the woman that I love more than anyone on this planet is always there. That she loves me. That she wants me to stop and smell the roses from time to time. A reminder, above all others, of something that I seemed to have forgotten.  That when the marrow screams for relief, I should provide it. Just because I believe that this is the only way to live, does not mean that it truly is.

So, today, as I awoke and asked myself that question, I thought of a new answer. What will I uncover, achieve, learn or find today? To paraphrase Thoreau in “Walden”, today, I will learn to live deep, and suck the marrow out of life. I will find a way to remove the exhaustion, and allow my steps to be lighter.

Live big, love bigger, and be kind, always.

P.S. I found another note in my wallet today. I am forever reminded how lucky that I am. My beloved is amazing, and I could not do all that I do without her.

I am sick and tired of being sick and tired

It has been a rough couple of months.  For all the reasons that many of us her on the East Coast know all too well, we have been inundated with colds and sicknesses. I have watched as my family has gone from being leveled by an illness, to healthy, back to being sick.  The cycle has been vicious, and none in our house has been spared.

For me, this is where the rubber meets the road when it comes to parenting. Dealing with wave after wave of sickness is a grueling practice.  For the older two we can give Tylenol for a fever, Benadryl for a runny nose or cough, and they get better.  We can give them juice, water, or Gatorade to drink to keep them hydrated.  Though it is painful to watch any child be miserable, we can deal with what we see.

However, this whole process is complicated when it also involves our youngest, Jacob. There is not medication to give him for his stuffy nose, and cough.  There is nothing to do but hold him, cuddle him, keep him upright, and let him know that he is loved. We know, from what we have experienced with Zoey and David that this will help to make him strong. Furthermore, we know when it gets too bad to take him to a doctor.  But that does not make any of this any easier.

Oh the Joy!

Being sick sucks. Being a sick parent, with sick kids… well that sucks even more. I feel like I am going to jinx myself (again) by saying that we are all doing much better than the week before.  However, thanks to this awesome weather (25 degrees Fahrenheit today… it was nearly 80 last week… 50’s by this weekend) I am certain that we are not done with this awesome ride.

Live big, love bigger, and be kind, always.

5 Days LEFT….. Come on little one….

After a long day yesterday, and little to no sleep last night… I awoke to find that we have 5 short days left until our second due date.  I did not think that I would be counting down this far… but the fact remains that we are now here.  After making it thought the work day in a VERY zombie like state (I do not think that I said anything that would have been improper today… I get like that when I am tired), I am now home to take care of some things.  I NEED to get caught up on homework, I am going to (hopefully) be able to mentor a good friend of mine on his Ice Breaker speech for Toastmaster, I need to write and practice my eighth speech and I am sure that there are a zillion other things to get done tonight.  Nothing major to report on my darling wife’s progress… starting to take bets on the ACTUAL date…. I have told her that she needs to force herself to walk around more… and I know that she is tired and in pain… but she is doing so well.  I am continually amazed with the ability that my wife has to deal with all of this stuff; the pain, discomfort, pressure, worry, and all of the other physical stuff while being tired, taking care of our brilliant border collie and being a damn good wife.  Perhaps there will be more news tomorrow…. Let’s all hope so for my wife’s sake.

I AM GOING TO BE A DAD, I am scared out of my mind, and I think that my wife and I are so tired that we will spend the rest of the week (yes it IS Monday) saying nonsensical things and laughing.