With the addition of our cricket, Mike and I have litterally started all over again, like from the bottom. We have both parented before. We have both changed diapers and had sleepless nights. We have watched our firsts grow into those favorite shoes and go from patty cake to pass the keys please. We have been there done this. So now what makes it so hard is that we still have one child at home who needs us in a completely different way than what we are now reacquainting ourselves with.
The cricket comes with needs that are completely different than either of our first children ever had. We have to be there every minute for her and give her more than we sometimes have to give. It has added a challenge to our daily life to say the least. For instance, both of us can not be at every one of Big J's volleyball games because it is too overwhelming for the cricket, so who doesn't get to watch the game? For me I want to see them all, I don't want to miss any part of any of my children's life, so to say I'll stay home just about kills me. Then if I do go to a game, all I think about is what I'm missing at home. For me I feel like I'm letting someone down somewhere. And to let someone down just about kills me. To let my children down only pushes me further to do more, more, more.
Then there are the issues of differentiating what happens in our home on any given day or night. We may go from reading a book to the cricket about shapes to helping Big J with quadratic equations and sometimes doing both at the same time. Or watching Baby E!nstein while having a grown boy who just wants to sit and veg on MTV. We can't tell him no, and we wont give him a TV in his room either, he either has to wait (which is what he'll chose to do) or we move onto the next baby activity and give Big J the space he needs. Right now Big J is going through things in his life that need to be discussed daily. He needs to know that he can always count on us as his parents to be there for him, even when we are elbow deep in a dirty diaper. And we need to make sure we are there and don't miss out on something that could easily be ignored. It's challenging because we also need to be there 110% of the time to the cricket too. It's hard. And most days I feel like I'm failing miserably.
It's hard for me to maintain that "you got a cool mom" persona when I'm driving around a bunch of boys in the car and I'm singing the ABC song instead of listening to the newest rap song. How can I tell a houseful of boys that at 9pm they need to quite down and settle in for the night, when all they want to do is stay up all night playing R0ck Band? I don't want to take away these last few years of adolescence from Big J. And I don't want to screw up bonding, developmental milestones, emotional wellness or attachment with my cricket.
Thankfully Big J understands why we both can't be at his games or events and why sometimes I just can not drive in the car pool in the morning, he may not like it but he understands. For me I don't want to fail at something I love so much or be a failure to my children. I hate to disappoint them. I hate to not be there for both of them at different stages in their lives as a whole. Right now I am not whole. I am exhausted. I am drained of thought. I even make mistakes. I feel like I am giving them both what they need, yet not completely. Like I'm two timing. Part of me is all teen and the other half is all baby. My hats are very different with each of them. And then sometimes I just plain feel like I'm doing everything wrong and I find myself in a pool of disappointment.
I have to let go of a few threads in my thick rope that I've attached to Big J. I have to add them now to the cricket and make sure I don't let go of either rope in each of my hands. I'm sure I'll have rope burn so bad by the time Big J is 18, but it will be worth the pain. It will be worth the stress of burning the candle at both ends. I may shed a few tears or watch a few tears be shed by one or both of my children. It will be a challenge but it will be one I will learn from and hopefully pass on. For now I find myself in a tight space that is completely new and so overwhelming sometimes that I just have to let go and let God.