For all their strange little quirks, their maddening whiny persistence, their volatile little tempers, kids have a way of bringing the simple truths of life into sharp perspective.
They have a way of reminding you what’s important.
Becoming a parent automatically makes you neurotic. I don’t care how easygoing or zen you think you are. The moment you welcome one of these beautiful little beings into your life, you automatically become a card-carrying member of the Second Guessers Club and you lose your freakin’ mind. Suddenly, every decision you have to make is a matter of life or death.
No joke, folks. Have a kid and suddenly something as simple as cooking a box of Mac & Cheese for dinner can make you question whether you’re really cut out to be a parent.
Jesus, Mac & Cheese again. I suck. 95% of the ingredients on this label are things that don’t even exist in nature. I wonder what it’s doing to little Johnny’s insides? Shit! He’s only eaten it like 4 times in his life. I wonder what it’s doing to my insides? I probably already have a hole in my intestines somewhere. Or maybe it just causes stomach cancer. I wonder if I already have stomach cancer? Oh Jesus! I’m not even going to get to see my own kid go to high school! Dammit! Where are the vegetables? Did I wash these good enough? I wonder how long I need to to cook them to kill all the bacteria and pesticides that Dr. Oz says are crawling all over them. Maybe it was Dr. Phil. Maybe it wasn’t even a doctor. Crap! The doctor. Wasn’t Johnny supposed to have an appointment last week? Maybe it was this week. What day is it? God, I suck at this.
By the time you get to the big decisions–like vaccination schedules or choosing a school–you’d be better off just handing over your entire paycheck to a licensed psychiatrist because Lord knows one of you is going to need it. Maybe more than one. Maybe all of you.
Kids though? They’re not worrying about all of that stuff. They’re not driving themselves crazy thinking about all the could’ves, should’ves, and would’ves. They’re not worrying about what’s happening next year, next week, or even tomorrow. They’re living, right now, and they’re enjoying every moment of it…right up until Mom and Dad start getting all antsy and kill the fun.
So, I’ve made a conscious decision to try and quell that annoying inner monologue that keeps me questioning each and every decision I make. Taking a cue from my daughter, I’m making it a point to let myself slow down and enjoy the little pleasures in life, and not worry so much about the bullshit. When you shut off the noise in your brain and allow yourself to really focus on and enjoy the present moment, the ordinary becomes magical, and something as simple as watching the graceful brushstrokes of a budding artist can make you believe that all is right in the world.
And, for that moment, it is.