Guest Post – Juggling My Balls

When I was at a loss as to what to post when I was on my vacation I was so lucky to have John at The Adventures of Daddy Runs A Lot come to my rescue. He’s so much fun to talk to and you really should hit him up on Twitter @DaddyRunsALot. Thank you for your awesome post, John!!

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I have one of the best “new-crowd ice-breakers” built into my being.  I have two kids aged 7 months apart.  It’s really fun to watch somebody as they try to work out just how this is possible.  Did my wife & I make whoopie immediately after we got home with the first kid, making a second baby that came prematurely?  Do I have two kids to two different mothers?  If so, how does my wife put up with me like she does?  Are they they a truly odd set of twins, one somehow being conceived in the late stages of pregnancy?  If so, how does that biology work? Is there something else?
It’s all very easy to explain, though – “unexplained infertility” figured itself out two months before my wife & I adopted our son.  So, child #1 came when child #2 was already in the oven . . . and, with that first child, my juggling act started.
As my daughter baked, we went to childbirth classes.  As a human with a penis, I know those “childbirth classes” weren’t really for me.  I was invited, surely, and I felt real appreciation for simply “being there” (like I could possibly have stayed away), but the classes were for the mothers-to-be.  “This is what’s going to happen,” “these are the signs you need to watch for,” “if this happens, you need to do that right away” type stuff was what they went over.  Some of it was interesting, surely, and it was geared toward the one with a human growing inside of her.  I was there for support and to, maybe, help remember something that, maybe, might otherwise “slip through the cracks” at a key moment (some time, I’ll write about going on vacation while leaving bags, packed neatly, in the bedroom).
During one of these classes, we had an ice-breaker.  We had to pass a ball from person to person, calling out the person’s name who we were passing the ball to.  Then, we had to pass a set of rings, to the left, calling out the person’s name to our left prior to the hand-off.  Then, a baby, to the right, calling out that person’s name prior to hand-off . . . I’m sure, if we ever got “good” at the game, there were other items that would have been added.
Without fail, somebody would forget to call somebody’s name, or somebody would drop one of the items, or all of the items would end up with the same person and we’d have to start fresh.  The point was simple – the baby represented the baby (duh), the rings represented the marriage, and the ball represented yourself.  If you spend too much time with any one thing, the other two are going to suffer – but, if you focus too much on anything but “you,” the game becomes really freaking boring and you won’t want to play anymore.
I still take this lesson to heart when I think about everything that I deal with now.  I need to “juggle” my two kids – my wonderful, cute, pain-in-the-ass kids who can ease any frustration I might have with a smile.  I need to throw work into the mix (because, without that, how the heck do I keep those two kids safe, with a home over their heads, and food in their bellies?).  Then there’s that “husband” hat that I need to add.  But, there’s still the “me” in the middle of everything.
There’s the “me” that I need to keep happy… to not have to build a facade of a smile.  Because I will have dropped those first two balls (hehehe, “two balls”) that are my kids if they grow up without knowing how to smile.  There’s the “me” that needs to keep sane.  There’s the “me” that needs to stay healthy, because, well, watching those two kids learn more & more every day is something really special, and it’s something that gets more special with time, and, well, I just need to see that all.
So, I add music (symphony, and my band, and random musicals as I’m invited to play) to the mix.  I add my writing, as I always feel a bit more balanced when I’ve managed to corral my thoughts into some sort of organization.  I add my diet, and my running, and my cycling, and now swimming, because I have some crazy idea that if I’m able to turn myself into an endurance athlete, I’ll live a long, long time.  Then, of course, there’s my playing with my organ on Sundays – but that’s mostly to just keep myself sane during church services…and then the tweeting on top of it because it’s always the most fun to share the fact that you’re playing with your organ with others.
My fear is that I have so many balls in the air that I won’t notice if one of them drops.  Sure, I keep my eyes on both those balls that are my kids at all times.  But, when I’m running, I’m not necessarily aware of the music ball.  And when I’m at work, how do I get my writing done?  And where did that husband hat go?  And, if I’m spending too much time with that “me” ball, what happens when the Kid #1 ball starts juggling stuff on his own – what if I miss that? ACK!
So, I’m a juggler . . . people keep on telling me that this “parent” thing gets easier, but I really fear that there’s too much in the air right now.  And, I know that, come the future, there’s going to be a coaches hat, and carpool keys, and a big, shiny “homework helper” badge.  Whew, all while watching for those first two balls (there, again, “two balls.” hehehehe) to start juggling more & more on their own.
I know those items that “define me” are in constant flux.  Maybe, in the future, writing won’t be as important, or I’ll be able to give up my band and still “feel like me”.  But, like Voltron (as prophesied by Aristotle, as all early anime has roots in ancient Greece philosophy), the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Now, really, where the hell did that husband hat go?
15 Responses to Guest Post – Juggling My Balls
  1. […] I’ve been hanging out at Mother’s Hideaway – why don’t you come out to join me, I’ve heard it’s quite fun to watch me juggle my balls. […]

  2. KLZ
    May 16, 2011 | 8:18 am

    As someone who wants to take a nap at 8:15 in the morning, I can say this with certainty: you need much less sleep than I do.
    KLZ recently posted..30 Rock- My World- A Guest Post

  3. MommaKiss
    May 16, 2011 | 11:39 am

    I’m with KLZ, I was ready for a nap as soon as I shipped the kids off to school. Alas, I dealt with my 6 hours of sleep and kept on moving. Love your description of the 7 month gap. It’s going to be awesome as they grow and grow. Right???
    MommaKiss recently posted..Menage a what Yes Trois

  4. Deb
    May 16, 2011 | 12:19 pm

    (hehehe, “two balls”)
    Oh, good. It wasn’t just me!

    That aside, I loved this post. I worry about all those balls up in the air, but so far I’m keeping ’em all going. Knowing I can set some balls out for short bursts or remove some altogether (*cough* “cleaning” *cough*) helps me maintain my sanity on a day-to-day basis, as does writing. 🙂
    Deb recently posted..Dow gobba gesk to you- too!

  5. tracey
    May 20, 2011 | 10:20 am

    Personal opinion and unwanted bit of advice: the spouse ball is the most important. None of the other balls will continue to stay in the air if the spouse ball is neglected. The kids will suffer, you will suffer, all will suffer if the marriage is hurting. The kids honestly would rather my marriage was happy and they were a bit shuffled aside if it means that their family will stay intact.

    Just a thought.
    tracey recently posted..Sex Radar and Monster Dreams

  6. Mark
    June 4, 2011 | 1:30 am

    I really liked the article but I didn’t learn anything about juggling my balls. When I say “balls” I mean my testicles. Mine make babies and I’m trying to spread my seed judiciously without responsibility for the aftermath. I was hoping that juggling might be a good method.

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