Monday, July 26, 2010

"All Joy and No Fun"

I recently read an article in New York Magazine with that headline.  It was an article on having children these days.  The whole thing deserves a read but it concluded especially well.

"The very things that in the moment dampen our moods can later be sources of intense gratification, nostalgia, delight.
It’s a lovely magic trick of the memory, this gilding of hard times. Perhaps it’s just the necessary alchemy we need to keep the species going. But for parents, this sleight of the mind and spell on the heart is the very definition of enchantment."
What are those very things that "in the moment dampen our moods"?  Let me tell you:  Hazel waking up for the third time.  She doesn't come down the stairs to where I am, but stands at the top of them moaning and groaning about one of a handful of complaints:

-need to go potty
-need a drink of water
-achy legs, need medicine

So I hike up the stairs skipping every other one hoping to skip over this mood dampening that much sooner.

Then, after she drank the grape flavored goop from the little plastic cup, I was urged further to "lay down with me" and watched the miracle of her mouth telling me a story about a princess and the man in the black hat.  I counted her freckles and noticed how her still-baby cheeks bulged out with each giggle and smile.  She stroked my cheek when I told her good night.

We have try to have weekly Monday meetings where we teach our children the ins and outs of our Faith.  The last time we did this, Dr. Gooch held up a picture of the Temple where the ordinance of marriage or sealing is performed.  The lesson was halted a handful of times due to unable-to-hold-still children and mini-bickering.  I eyed the doctor on occasion prompting him to move the lecture along.  The discussion progressed as follows:

Hazel (3), matter-of-factly, "I'll marry you, Dad!"
Dad (34), "I'm already married.  But you and Lucy will find wonderful boys to marry when you are older."
Seth (7), out loud to the group, "So will Avery (2), because she's so cute.  She's probably the cutest baby in the world."

Then, Seth leaned over to me and asked in a whisper, "Can I marry Avery".

My parents have recently had the great privilege opportunity to watching our four children as well as my sister's five girls.  The children are young and at dinner I feel more like a dog trainer than diner.  It is true that their energy levels stay at a constant high until sleep finally fells their bright eyes into dreamland, but are they more "hyper" or harder to deal with than when I was a preschooler?  My parents claim we were much more calm as kiddos.  I accused them of selective memory.

But maybe that's it.  Maybe our memories are gilded.  I've made claims of insanity.  And I stand by them.  I feel driven to it daily.  The relationship I want with my husband seems far out of reach and the one we have feels at times strained.  I know this is because of the children.  I've never sugar-coated and I won't start now.  The species does need to be kept going.  These little children need their own chance on earth.  I know this is why we do it because otherwise we wouldn't.

My heart is spellbound.  I am enchanted by these children.

They are truly worth every lost wink of sleep and dampened mood.


madsta said...

that was beautiful- of course your enchanted by them, for they are enchanting.
Did you know avery is missing? lovely photo non the less x

Jessica said...

That article tortured me. I think you approached it with more honesty. I really could not relate to much of it.

S. Schuller said...

This topic of the unpleasantries of raising children has been on my mind alot lately. You hit it on the head once again. Thank-you for being so honest and also for acknowledging the "magic," or enchantment of this experience "in the trenches"!

Kurt Knudsen said...

You 6 were calmer, gilded or no. But regardless, it is all worth it, for now and for the eternities.
Love you forever!

Susannah said...

This is why I read your blog. Thank you!

kera said...

i agree with the comment above.....THIS is why I've added you my "google reader"!! My mom tells us girls (AND i'm a twin) were MUCH calmer! were we??? really?! selective memory! AGREED!!

Ashley Thalman said...

Oh Jordan! What lovely thoughts. Lovely.

After reading the article I felt to lessen my striving for perfection and just let things be the way they are...

Jordan said...

Me, too, Ashley! I felt that exact same way.

Maria said...

I agree with Susannah & Ashley...Thank you!

merathon said...

i love that you don't sugar-coat.

avery must have been taking the picture-- she's getting good!

SoCalGal said...

Such a great picture! Where's Avery? I love Hazel. She is so fun-loving. I can just picture her doing that to you. Let's get together again soon!

michelle said...

Hi Jordan,

I know Katy from Jacksonville and click on her link to you from time to time. Your writing and pictures are beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

kelly said...

this was lovely to read. such truth.

Jourdan said...

Inspiring post. The parents in all of us can selectively relate.

Thanks for sharing!

Brooke said...

wow, that's beautiful, well said. thank you. motherhood can be incredibly lonely sometimes and it's nice to know other people feel the same as you do at times. isn't it funny that it feels so lonely when you are surrounded and mauled by little ones all day?