The Zoey Blog: The Definition of Uselessness FINAL - COVER UNIVERSE EXPLORERS ORDER


Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Definition of Uselessness

Here's some simple math for you to bounce around your head. There are two parents and only one child, so when that one singular child needs one of us...one of us...one of us attends to her. That leaves the other one to feel rather useless. You don't feel useless always, and you certainly don't feel useless because you are, or because the other parent has made you feel that way. You just flat out simply feel useless.

Like this morning. At 3am Zoey woke up and I could hear her. I think June was fast asleep stlll. I wanted to let her ramble and rustle and find her own way back to sleep rather than give her one more reason to think that she needs us for something. It didn't work. She stayed awake, in fact found herself more awake if that's possible. At 4am she started crying out for Mom. The problem was that Mom was asleep. Now, you might say, why didn't you just go take care of business, well because if she's asking for Mom that means she wants Mom, not Dad...we've worked through this before. A Dad visit means fun, trouble, or not what the little girl ordered...it does not mean sleep. So I nudged June, told her that she was being paged, which BTW pretty much makes you feel like the biggest asshole of all time, every single time, and watched her stumble into Zed's room. Two hours later she was still in Zed's room, Zo was no closer to sleep, and I was still wide awake twenty feet away.

I wasn't in that dark little closet of a room struggling away with that little girl, but I was frustrated. I'd been up since 3am. I can't sleep, like some jerk, when June's in there banging her head against a wall. I can't go in there 'cause that's the wrong message to Zo. It's not fun time, nor is it intimidating Daddy is upset time either. She's just awake. She's a human being and this crap happens. I pretty much can't do anything without feeling useless and unsupportive. THIS future Daddys of the planet is how you feel these first few years of Daddydom. You can play, bath, walk, feed, carry, read, scold, nap, explore, shop, wait, spend, pick up, etc...endless etc...but you're still not Mom, and you're still going to have the universe throw you jerk moments, and useless times, and THAT's the hardest part of all this.

So as long as you're legitimately useless in the moment, you know, not making excuses...and as long as you're willing to make up for the imbalance of effort (an imbalance you didn't ask for or invest in but are 179% responsible to make right at the earliest possible moment) and as long as you are perfectly willing to scrap any intentions, plans or hopes for whatever time period follows the moment...you're good. You're also required to shelve any thoughts on the matter because you weren't enduring it in the first person, which although it makes sense, sucks.

Here's what it boils down to...

The moment, whatever that moment might be, sucks, and there isn't much that you can do about it except acknowledge that both parents are feeling like crap about it, and then adjust to the following hours that are going to have the faint smell of residual suckage. Like how there's no way we're driving to Detroit today for an afternoon at the Institute of Art and a movie ("Howl" with James Franco playing Allen Ginsberg) even though we've got Baachan and Grandad stepping up to the plate to watch Zo for a night so we can have an actual moment that resembles marriage...we'll be disinclined to crowd our schedule with things that will further exhaust us rather than recharge us...we'll very likely be napping by 2pm...and we'll surely be grumpy and somewhat bitter that the universe couldn't throw us a friggin' bone for one day. Don't get me wrong. We have a great, grand life, and we do a lot of stuff, and we enjoy the hell out of our life, but we try to be good people and parents and that means that we take responsibility for things and every once in awhile when you have a window to be somewhat irresponsible you kinda wanna jump through it. You wanna take a trip without your offspring. You want to shop alone. You want to go to a sporting event and pay attention to every second of it. You want to see a band that doesn't go on stage until 10:30pm...you want to go to an art gallery that doesn't more closely resemble a gymnasium...you want to linger, at whatever it is you are doing. At 3am this morning the window slammed down on our unsuspecting fingers. We don't get the opportunity to linger very often.

On a positive note, 'cause there's always a positive note, 98.4% of the time...it is the weekend and we can recover. We can take a nap, sleep when we find the time, agree to be grumpy together, and be oh-so happy that this wasn't a weeknight. All that and we very likely would have spent $100 in the city where today will now cost us significantly less 'cause we're not doing a damn thing that doesn't take any more than fifteen minutes to manage, $15 to enjoy, and allows for no frustration, no difficulty, no escape plan, and no significant outpouring of energy. My wife is cool and I like hanging out with her, so anything we manage will be fine.

3am, you suck...you make me feel like a twit, and I can deal with the tired and crotchety, but I don't like feeling like a useless pile.

PS - June, I'm sorry that it's your name that gets called out in the middle of the night. If it's any consolation I'll be the one who has to pick her up at 3am from some guy's house after she lied to us about where she was spending the night AND then pay the lawyer who represents me in the ensuing assault and battery case against that same young man who told me to chill when I asked him what the hell his name was.

1 Comments:

Blogger Beth said...

We should have skyped or called...we had a bad night here too and 3 am does suck. It's amazing to me that in three short weeks I could go from someone who knew how to handle most situations to someone who wonders if any of her decisions are right.

January 29, 2011 at 10:03 AM  

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