Monday, June 21, 2010

Isn't It Ironic

Yesterday was Father’s Day – and it was Ryan’s first Father’s Day, if not Herb’s. Naturally, Herb had outdone himself in celebrating my first Mother’s Day last month, so I wanted to make Father’s Day extra-special for him this year. Plus, having just seen his daughter graduate from high school, I think this year Father’s Day was a little bit bittersweet for him.

So after having spent a long weekend up in Hanover NH at his 25th class reunion at Dartmouth College, we got home in the early afternoon on Father’s Day and almost immediately turned around and headed back north to drop Ryan off at my mom’s and have a lovely dinner in Newburyport. I know, I know, the irony of having dinner WITHOUT the baby on Father’s Day does not escape me. But after a weekend of hauling the poor kid hither and yon, taking his naps in car seat or stroller or wherever he happened to be when the nap attack hit, eating on the run and staying up past his usual bedtime, I think Ryan was as ready for a few hours without us as we were for a few without him.

As I’ve said many, many times before, he is an incredibly laid-back, easygoing baby. And 95% of the time, he is an absolute joy. But when he finally does run out of steam and melt down, it is incredibly stressful for his tightly-wound mother. And he’d had several nights over the course of the week when he woke up at 3 or 4 in the morning and cried for an hour before going back to sleep – which is stressful in and of itself, but when you’re staying in a hotel and trying to not wake up either Daddy or the neighbors, the stress level is increased about tenfold. And since, in just the short break between arriving at home and heading up to Grandma’s, Ryan had had an hour-long meltdown that had my last nerve completely frayed, I think that even if we had planned to bring him along I would have found some way to leave him behind.

(he looks so sweet and innocent, doesn’t he??)

Now, don’t get me wrong. I adore my son. I’d throw myself in front of a bus for him. But boy, was I ready to throw him through the window yesterday. The irony is, of course, that if I didn’t care about him, I wouldn’t be bothered by his crying and it wouldn’t stress me out. But since it upsets me when he’s upset, I get frustrated with him when I can’t figure out or fix what’s bothering him.

But I guess there’s a lot of irony in that kind of love. I’ve heard it said that the opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s apathy. Love and hate are more like sides of a coin – so closely linked that and you can’t have one without the other. And I think that love and anger are the same way: the more you love someone, the angrier you are able to be at them. Think back to some time in your childhood when you did something really stupid and dangerous. Your dad chewed you up one side and down the other, didn’t he? He was absolutely furious at you. And the reason was that he loved you so much – once again, love and anger go hand in hand. So the next time I get angry at (or frustrated with) my little boy, I’ll just have to keep reminding myself how much I love him.

I just hope it isn’t because he just did something stupid and dangerous...
Who, me?

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