Sunday, November 08, 2009

Humbled

The most amazing thing about the last week is that for some reason I didn't get sick. Yes, I've washed until my skin cracked, and downed enough vitamin C, zinc, magnesium, echinacea and goldenseal(yuck!...naaaasty!!) to bottle my pee and sell it in a health food store, but seriously I've been so covered in the kids germs that I think the only logical explanation is that I already had H1N1 antibodies in my system. Either that or someone/thing/(insert your divinity here) wanted me to learn a lesson.

For the first 3 or 4 days I held up pretty well emotionally. I was patient and nurturing. Even after Leanna went down sick as well, I kept going. Pee on the floor at 1:58AM? No problem grab a mop! Dropped the roasted chicken on the floor just before dinner? I'll cook something else! I was "Super Dad!" And then the wheels fell off. I'm not sure what proved to be the final straw, but by Friday I was breaking. Come Saturday I was Jack Torrance typing "all work and no play makes Joel a dull boy" over and over and over. I had hoped to get out and run a race Saturday, just a 5k x-country, short but long enough to reduce the stress, but was unable to do so. I was bitter and brooding and I felt trapped. I hadn't interacted with the outside world in almost a week. Had Leanna not rallied a little I'm not sure I could have kept it together enough to make it through the day. Come this morning I needed to get out for an hour. I didn't tell Leanna, but I was going to run part of the race course to see if I indeed could have won yesterday. In the final assessment, no I would not have won. Maybe 3rd, but this was real trail running and it was hard, so hard that I crossed the finish line (still marked on the ground), walked a little and hurled. And in that purging all the anxiety and demons swiftly departed.

Parenting is more tough than any race...any. Kids are unbelievably relentless. You try so hard and when you lose it you feel guilty and on par with the worst people in the world. I started the week with images of a #1 Dad coffee mug in my stocking at x-mas. I finished the week thinking I'd be lucky to get coal, and my kids would never want to be close to their crazy Dad who yells a lot again. No #1 Dad here. Pipe cleaners and homemade play dough can't cover up human frailty.

The last week has been one of the most humbling and educational experiences I can recall. Tomorrow I head back to work and despite everything I'm not "jumping up and down" about the prospect of being away from the family. I really love my family and despite everything would rather be with them and going crazy than without them.