Here it is. What you’ve been waiting for. The number one thing we said we’d never do as parents (which started in this post). And I’d bet my collection of slobber-and-snot-stained clothing that it’s your number one as well.
Vow #1: I will never talk incessantly about my kids
Allow me to paint a picture for you. I know this has happened to you and your significant other. It might have been while you were dating. Maybe while you were engaged. But definitely after you got married.
You went out on a double date with another couple who has kids.
You were really excited to see them. It had been forever. You couldn’t wait to catch up with them. Since they had the baby they had been missing in action. But they were finally able to find a babysitter and carve out some time to go out on the town with you like old times.
But it’s wasn’t like old times. Unless old times involved talking about spitting up, nonstop crying, or pants filled with poop. Which is entirely possible if your past was spent at fraternity and/or sorority parties together.
It all starts innocently enough. You ask the polite question.
“So how’s the baby?”
Your friend replies, “She’s doing great. So cute! Thanks for asking. She just now started to roll over on her own. She just motors around the living room bumping into th…”
Her husband interrupts.
“Honey, we promised that we wouldn’t talk about the baby tonight.”
“You’re right, Dear.” She replies. “We don’t want to ruin ‘date night’ by talking about the kids the whole time.”
Ten minutes later, you’re reminiscing about how your old college friend dated that totally crazy chick back in ’92 named Betty who got so mad at him she stuck his remote control in a blender. And then…
“Speaking of Betty, there is the CUTEST little girl in our son’s Toddler Time Music class named Betty. She is soooo funny! She and our little Jamison dance together like they’re at the high school prom.”
And then the husband gets sucked in…
“Oh Lord! I hope our son doesn’t want to grow up to be a dancer. Not sure I could handle that. Better start playing some more football with him! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA”
The next hour of conversation focuses on Jamison’s skin color, head circumference, and potential college choice. The night is ruined. Hijacked. You’re only laughing on the outside. Your insides are wondering what the heck happened to these people who used to be fun. Through a big fake laugh you look at your spouse to send a telepathic message.
We will never be like them!
And then you have kids, and your worst nightmare becomes reality. You are now that couple.
Case in point, this “top ten” series of blog posts now contains 3789 words (thanks, WordCount Feature!) Ninety-seven percent of you who have made it this far have kids of your own. The remaining 3% are being forced to read at gunpoint, which is an effective, yet unsustainable means of increasing my blog subscribers.
But that’s our life now. We talk about the kids.
During the day, we talk about how great they are. Late in the day, we talk about how we can’t wait for them to go to bed ‘cause their behavior is giving us a mental condition. Once they go to bed, we say everything about our kids that we’re not allowed to say when they’re within earshot. Like my completely irrational worries that Jake’s frequent requests for Childrens’ Tylenol will one day lead to a drug addiction, and how Audrey’s clothing choices will one day get her kicked out of school for dressing like the world’s only goth-vampire-turned-ballerina-turned-street-mime.
Hey. Anything’s possible. You gotta’ catch this stuff early.
And it’s no different when we’re out with friends. That’s why the only people we see anymore are couples with kids. Single people are allergic to us. Mini vans and mom jeans give them a skin condition. So, we commiserate with others that are afflicted with TalkAboutOurKids-itis. Just go to a Chuck-E-Cheese. That’s where they quarantine people like us. Places that make single men sterile. It has something to do with toxins leeching from the artificial fur on the giant mouse costume. Trust me, fellas. Stay away. It’s not healthy.
But it’s how we roll now. And it’s oddly satisfying.
So that’s it. The Top Ten Things We Said We’d Never Do. Quite a list. But it represents so much more.
This list of failures is what makes parenting one of the best jobs around. It’s a humbling experience. We make all these promises based on our vanity. Based on our pride. Based on the fact that we think we’re in control. Then God gives you this gift. This bundle of joy. Wrapped up like a series of Russian dolls.
Because inside the bundle of joy is a bundle of worry. And inside the worry is a bundle of excitement. And inside that, a bundle of wonder. Then fear. Then anxiety. Then peace. Then hope. Promise. Pain. Laughter. And Love. Each day more surprising than the next.
All wrapped up in a life on loan to us.
So parents, this Holiday Season, may you enjoy the gift of life – your and theirs – and the God who grants it all.