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Sunday, July 12, 2015

In the tagline of my last column, I made a flippant mention to “At least there’s coffee.”

Upon further contemplation, I have to admit those are my words to live by lately.

When you’re newly a parent, you get almost accustomed to lack of sleep. “But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel,” you think. “Eventually, this kid will sleep through the night and so will I.”

It might be true. It might not. (Jim still likes to wake us up in the middle of the night to announce that he’s using the bathroom, or just to make sure we’re there. The latter would be sweet if it wasn’t so exhausting.) But at any rate, it’s not that easy.

Sometimes you just want a breather … and as a parent, you’re probably never going to get it.

We have taekwondo and swim lessons and track practice and commitments that may not be as obligatory, but are an integral part of their lives, so much so that “Mommy wants to sit down for five minutes, honey” isn’t really a good excuse for not doing them.

(Could you cut some of this out? Sure. But when you’re a parent trying to raise engaged, well-rounded children, there’s always a sacrifice … and you’re generally going to be the one to make it.)

There are errands and appointments and tasks to keep the house from falling down around you. (Even if a full spring cleaning or nicely landscaped lawn is a completely laughable notion at this point.)

And while I’m a steadfast believer that all parents are “working parents,” that doesn’t change the fact that for families with two parents working outside the home, there’s even more balancing in there. Presumably, there’s a relationship to maintain in there, and high-fiving each other on the way out or in the door doesn’t really cut it.

There’s a job, or a career, with a claim on your time and attention and energy and, sometimes, your heart. There’s a mortgage or rent to pay, and groceries to buy and extras (or more likely, something like a new roof) to save up for. Sometimes there’s another job. And another.

It’s a ceaseless whirl of activity and a balancing act.

It’s exhausting. It can be fulfilling.

It’s life.

So, if you’re one of the people out there living this life alongside us right now, here’s to you. It might not seem like anyone appreciates what you do, but there are people who understand. I’m rooting for you. I am you.

And if you’re not … be kind. Understand that we’re all just trying to do the best we can. The world already has too many jerks. Try not to be one.

We’re all just trying to keep swimming.

I wanted to be sure to mention one of my family’s very favorite things to do over a WNY summer.

The Kenmore Children’s Concert Series takes place at 6:15 p.m. Tuesdays, starting this week and running through Aug. 11. The location is Kenmore Middle School on Delaware Road.

This year’s schedule: Rosie Flores, the “Rockabilly Filly, July 14; Cantiga (dance music of the Renaissance), July 21; Pyramid Band (big band music), July 28; Skiffle Minstrels, Aug. 4; and Buffalo Tango Orkestra, Aug. 11.

This is one of Jim’s favorite parts of the summer, and he’ll dance nonstop. Sam will run around with his friends … both schoolmates and kids he’s met that very night. It’s a blast. And it’s free.

Hope to see you there.

+Jill Keppeler needs a nap, and isn’t going to get one. Follow her on Twitter @JillKeppeler or email her at

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