Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Art of Being A Responsible Adult

I never thought it would be this hard. Remember as a kid feeling left out and pissed? It seemed like adults enjoyed telling you, "When you're an adult you can....". Ironic isn't it? All the freedom we thought we lacked was actually abundant compared to the freedom we lack as adults. I'm talking about freedom from responsibility. Sure we had to follow our parents rules, go to school, do homework, do some chores and go to bed at a reasonable hour, at least during the school week. We had basic rules and reasonable expectations. But responsibility? This was parceled out in small dosages based on age and/or maturity. I was fortunate to have parents that allowed me and my siblings to be kids. And how unfair did it all seem? "I don't want to go to bed yet!" "I took out the trash last time!" "You never let me do anything I want!" I truly had no idea what my parents had to do to raise five kids. The awesome responsibility of feeding, clothing and sheltering five kids all the while trying to instill good values, good character and introduce us to all that is interesting and rewarding in life. It absolutely never even entered my childhood mind that there was a conscience effort on my parents part to meet these unbelievable demands. They were just Mom and Dad. Always there. Mostly cool. Sure Mom and Dad divorced and there were bumps in the road, some more like hills or mountains, and some more challenging for my older siblings, but we knew that our parents loved us and genuinely enjoyed our company most of the time. They introduced us to so many cool things as kids that really still resonate with me and all of my siblings. Music was always playing. Pink Floyd, The Bee Gees, Neil Young, Barry White. Movies were like weekend vacations whether at the Eastwood Theater or the Pendleton Pike Drive-In. Rated G, PG or R. Funny, Scary or Serious. The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra in the Park at Garfield Park or Holiday Park. Long drives in the country to buy apples at the Tuttle Orchard. Swimming at Ellenberger Park, Sahm Park or Long Acre. My point? As a father of two young boys, husband to my lovely wife, working two jobs I understand now more than ever that there truly is an art to being a responsible adult. Just balancing work life with family life is a challenge every single day. Making time for the boys, making time for my wife, making time for myself. A struggle, everyday. However, I do it willingly! The joy when Jackie and Carter yell, "DAAAAAADDDD!" when I walk through the door will never get old and will certainly be missed when I'm not that cool anymore. The kiss from Michele when she asks, "How'd it go today?" When my dog Max jumps in my lap and licks every single inch of my face including the insides of my nose and ears. The awesome power of music washing over me while sitting in front of the Hi-Fi or listening to headphones in bed. Taking Jackie and Carter to the park when I am so tired I feel like I could pass out only to catch my second wind and be overwhelmed by the joy of my laughing boys enthralled with their Dad pushing them on the swings both at the same time. Thinking tonight I'll go to bed early to get some rest only to instead curl up with Michele to watch a movie and just enjoy the silence and solitude after 8:00 pm. Maybe even take a bedroom break! Yes, it is hard being a responsible adult. Mom, Dad, I understand the sacrifices you made, the mistakes you made and I'm thankful for all of them. You have taught me a valuable life lesson that is a part of my life every single day. Thank you and I love you!


Derek said...

I really loved reading this!!! I love you my most awesome brother!!! And I feel so lucky to have gotten to share the childhood I did with my 4 most awesome sibs!!!

Ann said...

Noel, you brought tears to my eyes with your beautiful words and your kind tribute to my parenting. Children are truly a gift from God and everyday is a joy to be surrounded by the sound of their laughter. I love you!!!!

michele said...

Noel this is awesome!!! Keep up your writing ... you and Meredith really have a gift!! I love you!