My life ran away...

I was recently asked whether I had any hobbies other than quilting. My first answer was "Sure I do". I garden, I decorate, I love to cook, I'm a C/W dancer, I have pets, I knit, I tinker with old sewing machines, I can do limited home repair and improvement...

Then, I got to thinking about it.

I had hobbies. Now, I have a 12-year old.

It's a good thing my gardens are established and only require limited maintenance because the last substantial gardening I did was to show the kid how things grow from seed. Now, most of my gardening time is spent weeding and replacing dead plants. Not much else. Not sure if that qualifies as a hobby anymore. It's really more of a chore that I don't mind doing.

I don't decorate anymore. I have a live-in decorator and while I make occassional suggestions, I've become more of a cleaner...clean the carpets, dust the ceilings and fans, vacuum the furniture...all the stuff it used to be easier to redecorate than do.

I used to love to cook elaborate meals that took hours to prepare and clean up after. I baked huge and beautiful cakes. We entertained regularly. Now, I'm glad when I have a half hour to slap something together and get the dishes washed between helping with math problems and bed.

I haven't been out dancing in 10 years. Now, I can't even stay up past 10 and that's when we used to leave the house to go out.

My dogs are a hundred years old and they only sleep and eat and perform the subsequent functions. I have fish and we have cats. Are independent pets a hobby, tho?

My knitting needles are probably rusting away from lack of use. My last big project? Christmas stockings three years ago.

I do tinker with old sewing machines, but in a way, that's related to quilting and shouldn't be considered a separate hobby.

And, home improvement is something we talk about but don't really get to much.

So, how do I spend my "free" time? I quilt. That's about all there is time for anymore. My non-free time is spent with all the nonsense that having a kid requires; homework, clothes, discipline, reward, praise, exercise. There's also a lot of time spent talking about raising a child and disagreeing about what we should do in any given crisis (and this kid loves a crisis). There are fond, but inaccurate memories about how good life was before kid. And, there's every parent's favorite, trying to make sure the kid has a better life than we do and an inordinate amount of time spent worrying whether we're screwing her up enough that she'll end up in juvenile detention or jail.

I had a life. I fed and watered it regularly. I played with it and talked to it. But it still kind of wandered off.

Now I have a child. Did I trade up? We really aren't going to know that until she picks our old folks home. If she puts us in a good one, we must have done right. If she puts us in a bad one or puts us on the street, then we messed up somewhere.

I'll have to let you know.

Can you tell we're having a rough parenting week? Great on Sunday, happy on Monday, crap on Tuesday. Say things we don't mean to say in the heat of a crisis. Apologize and hope we can do better next time. Over and over and over, ad nauseum.

You know, normal parental behavior.

Might have to clear a place in the living room and take that man dancing.



lw said...

Ah...the memories. At least you had a before. I had my first daughter just after I turned 19, and my second just before my 20th birthday. The teen years were pretty much what you described-- lots of drama, lots of work, no hobbies. And then they grew up and moved out. And I worked all of the overtime I could get to pay off the college bills. After that was over, it took me two years to figure out who I am when I'm by myself.

And now, I have hobbies.

Hazel said...

Welcome to the club LOL .My children are all grown and married with children of their own and I still don't have a life of my own . Now the grandkids cause all the drama but its all worth it in the end .

Shirleymac said...

The teen years are hard but once you get through them then you will hopefully find you have a little more time for yourself again. We never get back to pre-kids but then again would we want to? Good and bad our experiences as parents enrich our lives and help us grow. My hobbies are different now that my kids are grown but I enjoy them. I like to read and learn new things - which is something I hated when I was in school. I like living life at a slower pace.

P. said...

lw above wrote the post I was going to write, almost verbatim, except for the 2nd and 3rd sentences. My daughter is 10 years past age 12, and there are days I wonder if it was all a dream. The time seems to have flown by, although back in the preteen and teen years, it didn't seem like it would ever be over. You're doing what you need to do (including the quilting) and doing a great job. In the coming years, as pockets of time open up and she's off doing her thing at school activities or with friends, your hobbies will be there for you.

Cynthia L. said...

Although both you and Rob have had women in your life, there is nothing like a hormonal pre-teen. I believe there is nothing in life that can prepare you for the hormonal swings, etc. that go along with that age. I was lucky and my daughter and I were/are very close. Many of our friends argue their way through teen years (both with the teens and the partners) but it usually comes out good. I agree with the old folks home! My daughter says I can live with her, but I am sure that will change! I think we are getting to the stage where she thinks I am nuts and she is an adult and can live her own life! There are so many good times ahead for you guys, hang on tight and it will be worth it.

Elizabeth said...

Parenting . . . the toughest job you'll ever love. It comes with an endless amount of worries. I remember after having my first baby thinking, 'boy for someone who really wanted this, I'm just not that into it.' It's hard being the responsible one, but just remember kids need boundaries even though they fight against them. It helps them be better people when they grow up. If it totally feels like your kid hates you, then it means you're doing a good job. Keep it up!

Quilter said...

I have no parenting advice to offer sorry Lane, as I am only 13 years older than Sydney :-) But hang in there, Syd sounds like a real gem and I am sure in the years to come there will be many happy memories to take with you, and all the everyday stuff will pale away. Much love, Sam xox