This time of year is tough. The holidays are in the rearview mirror. Summer is so far away that it seems like it will never return. The chill of the morning walk to the paper cuts you to the bone some days.
It’s dark at, what, something like 2 p.m.? And the sun seems to stick its head out from behind the clouds for only a few passing moments.
But that’s January for you. It happens every year. It’s cold. The days are short and every once in a while, so are tempers. No one likes the cold. They may act like they do every now and then, but come on, who are they kidding?
I have to admit, having three little ones running around the house — literally — helps both me and my wife keep everything in perspective. Or is it that they help keep everything scattered all over the house? Oh, yeah, it’s both.
Whatever it is, it keeps us on our toes. Around Thanksgiving, both of the girls started walking. Now they are everywhere and our oldest, Gunner, is intent on egging them on. What else would a 2-and-a-half-year-old do with two sisters that are blasting through their first birthday?
Things are interesting in the dead of winter in our house, to say the least.
As maddening and tough on everyone as the weather can be at this time of year, though, it’s even tougher when you have three kids going stir crazy. And it’s only the middle of January. They want to play outside. I just want to go outside.
Where in the heck is this global warming everyone has been promising?
We try to set up play dates, but those just aren’t working for my wife. Maybe we should try setting up play dates for the kids, too. Kidding, of course.
A trip to the grocery store is a chance to get them out of the house, but trying to keep control of Gunner, who has no interest in staying in the cart — even the fire truck cart — is impossible. Add two little ladies that have to touch everything and a list of groceries and it’s a bit of a circus. Trust me, there may be a helpful smile in every aisle at Hy-Vee, but not in the aisle we’re in, that’s for sure.
And have you ever tried to maneuver through a dairy aisle that sits right next to the toy aisle? Yikes.
Since there are two of us and three of them, we utilize the zone defense. Just take care of what’s near you. Works well. Eh, “well” might be pushing it. Let’s just say it works.
Lately, Gunner has decided that he wants to be held just as much as Elise and Kyra. This is where the zone defense gets tested. It’s like a forward being able to hit a 15-foot jumper. It’s a zone killer.
I won’t lie, it’s frustrating. My wife and I love our kids more than life itself, but you know, that doesn’t mean we have to like them all the time, right? I know, I know, it does, but you get the point.
And just when you can start to sense or even see the frustration in our eyes, Gunner has found a way to help us shake that frustration free. You know, that whole keeping-things-in-perspective thing.
I’ll pick him and he says, “Daddy, are you so happy?” in the most inquisitive, everything-is-going-to-be-all-right tone.
Ah, come on. Are you kidding me? How could I not be? I melt every single time.
The innocence of that question stays with me. It makes everything OK. It makes those tough times a heck of a lot easier. It makes the weather seem not so cold. It makes the days not seem so dreary.
I am so happy. I just have to be reminded every now and then.
Jim Bradford is a former sports editor of The Olathe News.