Is it worth what?

It used to drive me crazy when people would be all harried with their kids or complain about their kids, and then turn around and say, "But they're so worth it."

"Worth what?" I used to think. It's not like you can return the kid if you think he's not worth it, right?

The other day I traveled through airports with my daughter, just the two of us. It was not what I'd call a fun day. She'll be 2 in July so it was a lot of this way and that, a lot of NO (from both of us, ha!), and squirrelly-ness galore. I cried a couple times. And I thought about my feelings about that phrase, 'but they're worth it'.

We came home to surprise my brother, and that's a really special thing. I had sent a text to my mom and dad earlier in the say that included half a dozen exclamation points. Still, in the moments when my daughter was shaking her whole body to tell me NO, and when she wanted to go on the moving sidewalk 17 times, I thought, "Oh my gosh is this really worth it?!"

Yeah, it is. I think we've convinced ourselves that anything that might be more stressful than we want to deal with isn't worth doing. Or that when our kids stress us out we need to justify their existence or our parenting by reminding ourselves that they're 'worth it'? I don't know. But stress, inherently, isn't that bad of a thing. Days like the one in the airport, they happen and they're over. I don't see the point in getting all worked up and treating the whole day as "rough" when it was really just pockets of it that weren't so favorable. Parenting is still worth it. A relationship with my daughter is still worth it. Traveling is still worth it. Life is still worth it.

It's just life. It's messy and neat and messy and neat again. It's a back-and-forth dance that is as wonderful or horrible as you want it to be.