You kind of lean over a bit, relax a bit as it takes you where you want to go. Then you spy that little thruway thing, and brace yourself for a brief trip in no-man’s land schlepping all of your stuff.
It doesn't really matter how old your kids are. It doesn't matter if you’re a single parent, a grandmother raising her grandchildren, or a two-parent family. It doesn't even really matter if your kid (or kids) is an angel or a devil on training wheels. A problem comes up, you agonize, philosophize, poll the various parties about what to do.
Then you embark on a lengthy or not-so-lengthy “solution” to the problem. Things settle down a bit. You pat yourself on the back, enjoy the peace and quiet for a bit, and then BOOM! Kid #2 starts acting up.
I think they've got some sort of lottery system going.
In the beginning you don’t realize it. You come home from the hospital full of smiles, high hopes, and a bunch of unrealistic expectations. But after a while they start to grow up, and that sweet little spinach-covered regurgitation machine turns into this THING.
The first time they look at you and start singing to a different tune, it's really cute. Maybe you even take a picture. After a while, it's not so cute anymore, and then you realize that it's not as cute as you thought. By the time you realize that this is it, they're going to keep doing this for their whole bleeping life, it's too late. You can't go back to the hospital and insist that this can't possibly be your child, and that somehow they must have switched babies.
Seasoned parents disagree on which is worse: dealing with the same problem over and over again (what is this, the Twilight Zone? I thought we dealt with this already) or enjoying the thrill of a brand new problem each time.
And know that the solution that worked today isn't guaranteed to work tomorrow.
But there is one thing that I can guarantee you, and it's this: IT’S NOT GOING TO END ANYTIME SOON. And the reason is this: your child is not a finished product. And he or she won’t be a finished product until they come to you with their own children.
Maybe not even then.
It could drive a person to start longing for the good old days of orphan trains and Oliver Twist orphanages…unless you realize that kids are really like unpolished diamonds, and you are the diamond polisher.
Keep up the work, and someday you’ll look at your child and say-hey, I didn't do such a bad job after all.