I spent many days of parenting doing what I absolutely did not want to do. My children wanted me to play with them, and I couldn’t remember how. Polly Pockets became the bane of my existence. Pushing children on swings became my personal definition of boredom. Hide-n-seek felt like cruel punishment.
However, when I really gave myself over to the experience, I found myself–on rare and precious days–finding a blessing in joining my children in what I absolutely did not want to do. I joined them because I loved them. I joined them because I didn’t have to think about my needs; I could focus on their activities and find the joy there.
Last night, my daughter asks me to take her to a late-night concert. I have a headache. I’m so tired my eyes feel like sandpaper under the lids. My legs hurt, and she wants to walk there. At night. When I want to be in bed with a novel. Did I mention my tired eyeballs?
“Really? You really want to go?” She’s jumping up and down with hands clasped in pre-teen energy.
We walk downtown hand-in-hand as she yammers on about everything. We arrive at a too-loud, too-crowded, too-crazy concert, and I leave her to her group of friends. I find the older ladies in the stands, and I sit back with them.
But then, then!, suddenly, I’m on my feet, singing and clapping like a pre-teen. I’m in it, just like a girl crushing on the lead singer of a band.
I turn to my friend and scream over the drums, “She made me do this, and I love it.”
I’m so glad I did what I absolutely did not want to do. Maybe this new stage of parenting means I go where she goes and allow myself to remember my own younger self.
Yes, I’m exhausted this morning. It was worth it.