my close friend and co-mother deborah and i were talking about the uphill struggle(s) of parenting small children. and we asked questions that were mostly rhetorical but actually stumbled on some helpful answers that came to us from whom i will call our "spirit guides".
she asked "why does anyone actually have children?" and the answer that came to me even as i spoke the words in response was this: (now you have to imagine the clouds parting and god-light rays shining down upon us as we stood, somewhat forlorn and tired in the doorway talking)
it is the most tangible way to change the world.
(and cut!) the angels stopped their otherworldly chorus.
okay so it's not the most brilliant bloody answer in the world, but it helped a little.
the second question was how much of the actual mechanics of parenting was meant to be enjoyable. you know: the ridiculous before-god wake ups, the packing of lunch (picture any mom standing in front of the fridge/cupboard trying to figure out what to put in the box TODAY), the night waking, the tantrums, the baths and unpredictable dinner service (will he eat THIS no? okay. yogurt?), the whole nine yards. how much of that does the average mom enjoy?
well, let me be francesca: not that much.
i like the parts where there are kisses and hugs, laughter and fun, adventures and funny quotes. i like the bonding of nursing my children. i like watching them discover. i sometimes like baking and/or cooking with Lauryn (when i'm not yelling at her about what it really means to HELP MOMMY, dammit!) that kind of stuff.
so i said (queue angels and god-light): that parenting is like farming. a whole lotta waking up at dark thirty. a whole lotta manual labor. sweat of your brow, that kinda thing. a whole lotta watching over and tending to. and then there are the bountiful rewards. the beauty of fresh and perfect. the moments when you know why the dark thirty - or just accept it. the times when the sound of whining and bodies hitting the floor in frustration are far, far, far away from your thoughts. when you child laughs and your heart sings.
so keep on farming and changing the world one hug at a time.