Nothing is easy anymore. I’m sure I felt that way also in my 20’s when I had to work on a Saturday or something. Now that I’m almost 40, with three kids and a mortgage, it feels that way on a level my brain could not begin to calculate 15 years ago.

It’s difficult to remember when leaving the house was a simple as walking out, maybe turning off the lights and locking the door. Now I feel like Sisyphus every morning. Instead of a boulder I’ve got a 3-year-old, a 5-year-old and an 8-year-old pushing me backwards, seemingly unable to simultaneously locate and deploy socks, underwear, shoes and shin guards while drinking milk without chocolate. Chalk it up to a win that at least they all go to the same school this year (though what we pay for that privilege is another thing entirely). 

I vaguely remember weekends years ago. Waking up late enough to wander to a coffee shop, eat some bread and read the paper. Maybe grab lunch with friends and hit the new place that night. Now I’m in Groundhog’s Day with birthday parties and soccer games and maybe if I’m lucky and my wife is willing, a break in the fun to get some work done. Speaking of work, isn’t it wild that it’s now the easiest part of the day? Associating with adults and making decisions generally unimpeded by tears, threats and pee. 

Happiness is like enlightenment, be wary of anyone claiming to have achieved it. It’s more of a pursuit, a direction. I feel like I’m wearing a blindfold most of the time, the world just tossing me around. That’s why I reach for those little ketchup packets of joy every day. Sweating and falling on my face in yoga so I can walk out into the sunshine, roll down my windows and listen to my playlist. Brushing teeth and hair that is not my own, through tears and violent protest, for that little smile and eye-roll from my wife that says we’re in this together. Wading through sleepless nights and existential worry about bank accounts and the changing world, to hear the bubbling laughter and see the twinkling eyes of those sweet little children who make it all worth it.

 

Cousin Jonah, Andrew and Catherine at Idlewild

Cousin Jonah, Andrew and Catherine at Idlewild