Parenthood is bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S.
I like bananas. I mean, they're fine. They don't make me gag, and they don't make me swoon. Bananas aren't my favorite fruit and I'd prefer them sidling my ice cream rather than topping my cereal, but that's just me. But, my window for eating a banana is very ripe-specific. I utterly despise green bananas, and anything bruised or brownish is just gross. But, a perfectly timed banana that peels seamlessly and has that subtle, soft-but-firm ripeness about it is exactly right.
I know, I know, not even monkeys talk about bananas this much. But, stay with me. Parenthood is bananas.
Parenthood is full of perfectly ripened moments. Times when your child hugs you for no reason. Moments when you catch your little ones making each other giggle. Occasions when you catch your breath at the thought of them being your own flesh and blood, and your heart aches with love for them so bad that you nearly miss them even when they are in your arms.
But, then there are the bruises. The smooshy, yucky times that feel rotten and leave you with guilt and anger. There are green times when you feel so new at this whole game you wonder how anyone has ever survived it before you. These are the ends of the parenthood spectrum no one prepared you for, and you just can't imagine how you ever signed up for such a battle.
But, the reality is, I can't just take the perfect moments of parenthood without the yucky ones. I don't get to hand-select the hugs without having to put up with the tantrums. As a parent, there are days when I'm in constant battle with myself debating whether I truly think the blessings outweigh the frustrations, and I'm numbed by the debilitating, question no parent ever wants to admit they're thinking: Is it worth it?
Guys, parenthood can be SO HARD, right? Like, filled with frustrations so paralyzing that you just want to drop everything and take a time machine back to the good-ole-days when you could sleep in until noon and watch TV in peace. And, in that fantastical moment of daydreaming life-before-children, I'm reminded how different I've become through the few years I've lived in this process we call parenthood. And I'm the better for it. Period.
To ask whether parenthood is worth it or not is literally asking whether life is worth living. You don't get to "create your own adventure" like we may have imagined in childhood. You don't get to only experience happiness, prosperity, and peace. That's not promised in this life, and it's not attainable, nor should it be pursued. Ideals in life can help motivate us, sure; but they can be dangerous plumb lines for gauging expectations. It's the whole of life that truly makes each moment beautiful.
The crushing minutes of my day are the ones that mold me the most. How I deal with the craziness, how I allow myself to be shaped by the opportunity to love well and forgive and be patient...these are the times I am growing the most into who I am meant to be in the next moment. Parenthood is made up of a million moments of failure, followed by glimpses of the grace of Jesus, and rewarded by fleeting moments of utter joy. The rest is all growing pains. Ripening. Progress.
Don't wait for the perfect moment to embrace the whole of parenthood. You never know when the messiest of times might end up being the sweetest.