One Couple's Stumblings Through Parenthood and Marriage

Monday, March 13, 2006

Escaping the Madness

This Sunday, the family (my in-laws) got together for our typical Sunday afternoon/evening. We haven't gotten together for about 3 weeks because some people - mom and dad in-law! - have been vacationing and placing higher priority on their own enjoyment rather than spending time with their loved ones (how dare they!). Getting together again reminded me of how chaotic it can be.

It is a lot of fun (otherwise we wouldn't all get together), but the day consists of a lot of child-tending. There are 9 grandchildren, 6 of which are two-years-old or younger. Us adults, who barely outnumber the youngins, spend a large chunk of our day chasing them, feeding them, cleaning up after them, holding them, resolving their disputes, and trying to keep them contained. It takes patience and stamina.

Last night, as we got the last of them to bed, I got to thinking. Man, what a lot of work! The kicker is, of the 9 grandkids, only 2 are old enough to have any memory of any of this! We spend so much of our time working for them, and they won't even remember it! It is true that we are laying a foundation for our kids and helping them grow up into functioning adults. But I would feel much better about it if our kids could really appreciate all of what we did for them - in the moment. It might make the dreaded teenage years more bearable. I'm afraid that they won't get it until they have kids of there own, by which time it will be too little too late, and Annie and I will be taking vacations of our own to escape the madness.

I think I finally understand why my in-laws keep disappearing.

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