So this is middle-years parenting. Excuse me if I get whiny.
We are decidedly out of the baby-toddler years, which threatened to kill us with sleep deprivation, viral loads, and constant vigilance. So that is awesome, really, to be done with that sort of daily torture.
Our kids are good. They are interesting people. They think interesting thoughts. They are science nerds and jokesters. They like books and outer space and nature. They like swimming and ice cream and French fries. They each have their quirks, to be sure, but we are trying to handle them, with varying amounts of success. (Depends on the day, usually.)
So what could possibly go wrong?
It is not the relationship. The kids seem to trust us, despite some age-appropriate lying that drives me batshit crazy. (They are not that good at lying, get caught, then seem mad that they were caught and are in hot water. Still waiting for them to make the connection.)
They love us. They need us. It is the jobs. The JOBS, people. (For more on what I mean by this distinction, see here.)
So the jobs, the daily grind, the hamster on the wheel stuff? I am pretty sure it could be done better by a border collie. The entire border collie DNA is poised to get reluctant or recalcitrant animals to do what they should be doing. Say, fording a stream or switching pens. Just generally staying on task, getting to the new location — border collies will do it day in, day out without a complaint. Because DNA! They love the jobs!
I get frustrated. The herding, it irks me. The waking up every morning to the exact same list of tasks, and yet being treated like I am suddenly speaking in Turkish. (“How would one say…suntan lotion?” “What is this water bottle you speak of? Oh, I was supposed to bring it home? And drink from it again today? Madness!”) I know I am supposed to be making myself obsolete, or starting to, in this stage of parenting. It doesn’t seem to be working. Although one can work the grill with aplomb and the other can sew buttons and embroider, they still can’t manage to put their dirty dishes in the dishwasher or the milk back in the fridge. Ever.
Better left to the dogs to herd my cats. That’s my refrain. What’s yours?