Young At Heart: 15 Ways Having Kids Made Me Young AgainSerge Bielanko
I’ve got grey hairs now.
There’s not a ton yet, really, but they are there.
Also, my hair line is moonwalking back along my scalp, too, which probably means that my days of a full head of the stuff are pretty much gone.
And seeing how I have two kids ages three and one, I have to be honest, the temptation is there to blame them in a roundabout way, you know? I mean, being a parent is stressful; it’s no surprise that our bodies might start to trade in the energy it takes to make thick lush heads of hair for a little extra pep to deal with the tiny monsters.
But still, deep down, I know that’s just a cop out, man. I know I’m just making excuses for the inevitable, for Mother nature, for Father Time’s impetuous march toward horizons that once seemed so damn far off and so distant to my younger self.
So, I can’t go down that road.
The fact is, sure, I might be dragging around a few extra pounds nowadays and my head might go all Kojak on me here before too much longer, but I can’t really complain and I know it.
Because, yeah: having kids might stress us out a bit on the surface of things, and that daily grind of parenting/policing/ protecting/ and partnering might whittle away at certain parts of us that once seemed Bionic and forever, but yet, the truth of the matter is, having two kids come into my life and light up my whole world with their crazy ways and their electric smiles and their little voices whispering,”Daddy?” in that subtlest of ways that I know they are about to ask me for a cookie, all that has probably made me feel so much younger now than I ever dreamed I could possibly feel again.
Look, I’m 40. I’m no spring chicken. When I run a few miles on the treadmill at the gym I sweat so much that I’m pretty sure that any day now the dude down at the YMCA is gonna lead me into a special room with sponge floors and meat-locker AC. My knees hurt so much some mornings that it’s as if some mafia thug had taken a baseball bat to them while I was snoring through the night (or until I had to wake up to pee again).
But I truly believe, and I may be wrong here/I’ve been wrong so often before, but I truly believe that my two little ones have helped me re-connect with so many of the wonderful things that we tend to turn our backs on when we get older.
I’m smiling way more these days than I ever did before, at least since I was their age. And I laugh at so many things now on a daily basis that I can literally feel my insides trying to head in reverse sometimes; I feel my heart trying to back-peddle across the years I’ve conquered; I sense my own psyche fooling itself into thinking I’m 5 again…or 12.
And what a gift that is, huh?
What a damn gift it is to feel that way just by hanging out with the two best people you’ve ever met. I know, I know, it’s just a feeling at the end of the day. Nothing can stop time’s onward march.
But, I’ll take this as it comes, because it makes me glad to be alive.
And that, my friends, is the whole point of everything.
The Simple Life 1 of 15Something that I had forgotten all about by the time I was probably 18 or so is that life should be way simpler than we allow it to be. Having my kids has helped me to re-connect with the real innocence of living. By just being around them, I have learned so much about what I lost as a young man, and what I failed to re-gain until they came along. We are in this world but a short time, and yet we manage to complicate things more and more each day. Kids don't do that. They live simply, according to their hearts. That is a good thing.
Fun Is Everywhere 2 of 15Being around my daughter, and then my son, has brought back so many youthful qualities to my world. And chief among them is the very fact that the world is basically a playground. Any aisle in any big box store is a wonderland to them, a place full of surprises and hidden treasures. I've been trying to see our world that way since becoming a daddy and guess what? It is an awesome way to live again!
Laughing 3 of 15Oh, how we laugh now. Sure, I have always laughed, we all do (or at least I hope you do). But I can honestly say that I have never laughed before like I laugh now in the company of my daughter and my son. And it's a natural thing too, that's what makes it so great and pure and worthwhile. I never skip the chance to ride carnival rides with them or play a little prank on them or let them climb all over me and then attack them with tickles, because each time I crack up in their midst, I swear I feel a little bit younger.
Playing 4 of 15Man oh man, do we ever forget how to play. Life sneaks up on us, we move into our early teens, we try and act cool to impress our peers, and the next thing you know...we haven't gotten down and dirty with a good session of old-fashion playing in a long long time. Nowadays, I honestly love playing with them. It doesn't matter what we do: we pretend we are dinosaurs chasing each other around the house or we form a parade on the carpet with all of the plastic animals we have accumulated somehow. It's basic, it's easy, and it makes us all happier than I'd have thought possible. Sometimes, I even think I like playing certain games more than they do, but whaddya gonna do?
Gettin’ Silly 5 of 15I'll admit it. I'm 40, pushing 41, but I'm a silly-ass dude. There is nothing that I enjoy more in this world than doing stuff that most adults would regularly deem, well,... idiotic. I can't help it. Nonsense words, making rhymes up that mean nothing, using our tongues to make fart sounds and motorboat noises, I can't get enough of any of it. When I do it, I am one of them, you see. And when that happens, yep, you guessed it: I am young once more.
Money Means Nothing 6 of 15Like most parents my age, I worry about money a lot. And I freaking hate that so much. Financial concerns are of the utmost importance, I'm certain, but Lord, do they ever take their toll on our spirits as we get older. In some ways, they control us, or many of us, if we let them. But with my kids, I am reminded time and time again that they could give two squirrel craps about all things cash related. They live their life never once thinking about bank accounts, and in all seriousness, I find that so therapeutic. Yes, we have to mind our finances. But at least when I'm with my kids I see the value of pretending that none of it matters at all. And that what matters is where when we are getting some dang ice cream!
Eating Is An Adventure 7 of 15I like food. Who doesn't really? But I might like it more than you and that's my cross to bare when it comes down to the 'spare tire' and all. Still though, I find that eating meals with my kids is way better than just about any dining experience that I have ever had. And I've had a few doozies. With the kids, there is only the real honest-to-God savoring of stuff we like. They dig into Mac'n'cheese with hotdog bits as if it were some Michelin rated fancy dinner. There are no pretensions or haughty dishes. There is just the food in front of them and some big smiles to eat it with. Having breakfast with them has become one of my favorite things in this life.
‘I Love You’ 8 of 15I love you. Those three words can make our world if we would just let them, but so often we kind of take them for granted, I'm afraid. I know that before I had kids I would say it without thinking too much about the meaning behind my voice. But all that has changed now. Hearing either one of my children tell me they love me makes me aware of how powerful that short sentence really is, how it can fuel us for eternity, no matter how rough things might get. When they say it to me, or when I say it to them, I feel not only young and spirited and full of life, but also, I feel absolutely invincible. Like a super hero who can live forever. And I find that to be a damn fine feeling to have from time to time.
Outside! 9 of 15Adults get caught up in their jobs and that entire sub-world that exists under this roof or that one. But becoming a daddy made me open my eyes again to the glory of the outside world. I love the way that my son and daughter actually begin to weep openly when it's time to head into the house from the yard or from the park down the street. And I have found myself adopting that mentality too, right along with them. No matter how old we are, playing with kids under a blue sky makes us younger, I think. Why? Well, it's probably because sunshine and mud makes us be glad to be alive.
Christmas 10 of 15If you celebrate Christmas, then you certainly remember what that time of year was like as a child. Simply put, it's magic. Now, I have maintained a fondness for the season that might just be considered a bit much by most adults. My penchant for decorating and playing holiday records is, dare I say, legendary in my house. However, when our kids were born, I suddenly realized that all of my Martha Stewart Yule-ness had been lacking something for the last three decades or so. And that...was kids. Being with my two at Christmastime has got to be one of the most epic joys I have ever known. They are SO into EVERYTHING that I want to do/ string up/ wrap in tinsel, that it makes me feel like a five year old all over again. Rather than judge my passion, they embrace it (and therefore, my wife does too) and by the time Thanksgiving rolls into town, we are in full-on Santa Clause mode. I love it so much more than I ever did before (and THAT'S saying something!). I have my young ones to thank for that, too.
Halloween 11 of 15To be honest with you, Halloween was never really my jam. I liked it fine enough, don't get me wrong, but it came and went without much fanfare from me most years. But then, Violet and Henry arrived on the scene and everything changed, My wife, Monica, wanted to make certain that the kids remembered Halloween as a special time of year and so she took it upon herself to decorate our place with the spooky vibe with the same spirit that I do for Christmas. And lo and behold, when the kids got all into costumes and pumpkin carving, so did I ! Now, I look forward to Halloween with super anticipation, me and Violet and Henry and Mommy making special trips to those Halloween stores that pop up once a year and making sure we have bushels of dead corn stalks tied just right to our front porch. It reminds me so much of when I was just a little boy and how much I really adored Halloween. It's a shame that growing up made me forget that. But it is pure awesomeness that having two little ones has brought me right back to it all again.
Learning Is Everything 12 of 15After I dropped out of college and went on tour with my band for a long long time, I gradually moved away from real everyday learning. Sure, I am an avid reader and newshound and all, but still, there is nothing like when your mind is picking up tons of new ideas and information every single day. But with kids, I have been able to find that wonderful part of me again, that part of me that was hungry to absorb and eager to learn. Every day now each of my children seems to learn a new word or a new animal or a new way of trying to sweet-talk us into a cookie or something, and its all so amazing to be a part of. Any parent will tell you that watching your kids begin to learn is one of the highlights of their lives. And I agree. Being thrown back into a world of constant learning makes me feel like I'm starting all over too, in a way. I love that.
Pure Emotion 13 of 15We get tougher as we age. Life beats us up at times and leaves us spinning in it's rough and tumble wake. We grow more cautious, more cynical; we get jaded at times. So, being around two fresh souls who are just brimming with pure energy and excitement has led me to a new found place that I haven't visited since I was probably eleven years old. See, kids cry when they're sad and they giggle when they're giddy. They throw things when they are angry and they just go berserk when they are jealous, but through it all, I have developed a real fondness for their ability to play it all exactly how they feel in their guts and their hearts. Yes, I know that if we as adults lived that way we'd be even more uncivilized than we already are, but getting the chance to experience real true raw emotion in it's most diluted human form is something that makes me feel more spirited and alive.
Surrounded 14 of 15Just my everyday life now makes me feel younger. I mean, I'm constantly in the heat of the action, two little children rumbling through the house, grab-assing and throwing plastic dinosaurs around and watching cartoons. They do a trillion different things a day; hell, they do a million things in like an hour. That stuff all adds up to this kind of environment where, if you're stepping outside yourself now and then, you realize that there is a bit of youthful osmosis going down. I am feeling younger because they are BEING YOUNG around every single corner. Parenting is often a chaotic and nerve-wracking affair, we all know that. But, if you take the time to hear the symphony playing just beneath it's wild surface, I think you'll see exactly what I mean.
Someone To Watch Over Me 15 of 15I know this might sound strange to some people, but I feel like ever since I grew up and moved out into the world, there was a kind of love missing from my life. I did indeed find and marry the woman of my dreams and I know she loves me (on a scale of 1 to 10; she definitely loves me an 8 at least, ya'll!), yet there was always this unconscious feeling in my bones that no one had my back quite like my mom did when I was just a little boy. Then, Violet and Henry came along, and all of the sudden, I swear, I felt that sort of overpowering love again. When I look at them looking up at me and I see the glint in their tiny eyes when I am trying to make them laugh or help stop their tears, I am bombarded by this sort of priceless guarantee that someone is going to love me hard and true for the rest of my days. And all I have to do on my end is love them the same way right back. It's hard to explain, I guess, but it's there and I know it. It's something living deep inside me and it makes me feel like I will live forever and ever and ever. Which, come to think of it, I kind of will.
More from Serge:
Conversations With a Three Year Old, Part 7
Was I Wrong to Post This Picture of My Daughter and Myself on the Internet?
10 Qualities I Hope My Daughter Picks Up From Her Mother
Baby’s First Week At Home: Invaluable Tips For New Dads
The Ways Of Love: 20 Things My Kids Have Taught Me About Living
You can also find Serge on his personal blog, Thunder Pie.
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