Posted on | January 7, 2014 | 3 Comments
I’ve been sick since Saturday, battling a fever with a nasty cough and runny nose. It’s not been pretty and the past two “snow” days of no school have done a number on my patience. I’m sick. I’m cold. And I don’t feel much like parenting, to be honest. My patience has been at about a negative seven on a scale of 0-100 and J has borne the brunt of my frustration at feeling so damn awful.
This morning, I decided that I had to go in to work for at least a few hours to get at least a few things done. I pulled out the warm jackets, grabbed a quick breakfast and started pressing the issue of putting down the iPad and picking up the toothbrush. J fought me about it, wanting to keep playing his game… just like he’s fought about everything else this weekend. And I lost my patience, just like I’ve done about everything else this weekend. Finally, I got him to turn off the game and go brush his teeth so we could get going. He looked at me with a sigh and mumbled “It’s really hard being four.”
My first instinct was to laugh. Hard? Four? Come on, kid. I WORK for a living. But then somewhere in the back of my mind, I remembered being a kid… remembered thinking everything would be so much easier when I was a grown up. Remembered thinking how hard it was to not be in charge of my own decisions, my own life.
It’s really not easy being a kid, you know. We think it is. We measure it against our lives as grown ups and we scoff at the problems and drama and ridiculousness of feeling like FOUR YEARS OLD is so hard. Or five. Or ten. Or fifteen. Because how could it be hard? No responsibilities. No bills to pay. No wrinkles.
Only it is hard. Think back on when you were a kid. There was a reason you wanted so desperately to be a grown up… a reason you yelled “IT’S NOT FAIR” so many times that your parents wanted to put it on a t-shirt for you. I know that I’m hard on my son. I know that he doesn’t understand that there’s such a thing as too much television or too much computer time. He doesn’t understand the hardship of paying bills or working long hours just like I don’t remember the angst of not being in control of my own time… not being able to decide to stay up later on a night I’m not tired and go to bed earlier on a night I am. He can’t fathom the pressure of deadlines and I can’t recall the heartache of having the person in charge of me just not getting what I’m trying to say or do or feel.
The truth is, being human is hard. We are such internal beings with such rich lives inside our heads that no matter what age we find ourselves in, we are always going to yearn for what we don’t have… what we lost or what we’ve yet to gain.
So while I wanted to laugh at my son, with his serious four year old face and his serious four year old words, instead I opened my arms and wrapped them around him. Because it’s true…. being four is hard. Just like every other age.