It's easy to let your children consume your life. Actually, you know, that's not really an accurate thing to say. What I really mean it that it's easy to let your life go, and I don't mean this in a Christian, sacrificial way. What I mean is that it's easy to settle, to let the grueling work of raising children cause you to want nothing more out of life than a king-size package of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and an episode of Law and Order.
I do understand that level of exhaustion, though. I'm just coming off a year of really, really hard work. I gained lots of weight and lost more flexibility than I thought I had left. So, I have a really good sense of why collapse is central to a parent's life. I've been there and discovered how horrible it is.
What I've been thinking about lately, both consciously and unconsciously, is how absolutely terrible this kind of response is for the kids. Oh, it's absolutely terrible for the grown ups, that's obvious. But what's worse, I've decided, is that a collapsed parent who has been completely dulled by daily life can offer nothing more to a child than an episode of Law and Order and a peanut butter cup.
Parents who are no longer dreaming or building or trying to better themselves show a kid that being an adult is a drag.
After the birth of Ike, our second child, I could really feel the inertia mounting. Couch potato-ness was on its way, and I had the tracking number. My wife and I both felt it, knew that we were going to become the kind of people we used to always observe with a certain degree of horror. The fatness and lethargy was the least concern