Archive for July, 2009

I am missed

One of the biggest benefits of my new shift (2-10 p.m.) is that I can spend a substantial chunk of the first half of my day with the kids. It’s a good time to be with them, because they’re still energetic and open to ideas on how to spend their day.

But one of the biggest drawbacks of my “tweener” schedule is that I end up leaving right in the middle of the day — often just when one activity is transitioning into another (i.e. after lunch, before a trip to the pool).

Nearly every day now, as I’m preparing to leave for work, I’m sent off with tearful hugs and wails of “I’ll miss you, Dad” from our 8-year-old. (Getting nonchalance from our 4-year-old, but that’s just his style. I’m sure he misses me too.)

It’s not good to have to leave at such an awkward time of day, but … it’s nice to be missed.

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I had an exchange with our 8-year-old this week that unintentionally prompted a much deeper reflection.

As many kids do, he was communicating with his younger brother via yelling. I don’t recall the topic, but I grew tired of the high-volume exchange and asked the boys to stop screaming at each other.

“Well, if you didn’t want to hear yelling, you shouldn’t have had kids,” the 8-year-old replied.

Part of that is nonsensical, of course, but he has a point. There are certain things that come with the territory, as it were, when you decide to have children. Many are welcome, of course — the legacy they’ll forge, the sheer joy of their discoveries, the unquenchable love they foster.

But on occasion, there are a few flies in the ointment as well. It’s not a secret that raising kids is no walk in the park. Tempers will flare. Frustrations will surface. Nerves will fray.

On balance, most viable parents would agree that the positives far outweigh the negatives. But it’s still a valid question to ask: Why, exactly, did you have kids? What was our motivation? Did you feel obligated, rushed, or pressured to produce offspring? Was the timing carefully considered? Did you hear a biological clock ticking?

Feel free to comment here, and we’ll get a discussion going. Everyone has their reasons for having kids. I’d love to hear yours.

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