A Morning of Misses

It has been a MORNING. It has been a morning of missteps — small failures being collected and littered behind me forming a twisty, slipshod path where a straight line should have been.

This morning, my oldest missed the bus, which in itself can throw a wrench into a semi-established morning routine. This morning, I begrudgingly had to go outside and chase after our dog trying to beckon her inside while dodging and ultimately stepping in her dinner from last night. Did I mention it was raining? This morning, I found a freshly laundered Doc McStuffins smock in the dryer where my daughter’s white, button-down, uniform shirt should have been. Plus, the light was burned out in the laundry room so I had to use the flashlight on my phone, which I ultimately dropped behind the washing machine.

After driving Ave to school, Isla fell asleep on the way home. I gently placed her on the couch, where she  napped for a bit, but I couldn’t seem to take my eyes off of the clock. On Tuesday mornings, she has music class. I was unsure what to do. This morning, she had awoken at 4:45, which is early for her. She hasn’t been sleeping well at night. She actually never sleeps well at night and I consider a good night’s rest to be a fluke. I gently tried to wake her, which turned into a 20 minute power struggle to get her her ready. There was crying, and a tantrum, and pleading, and bargaining. Tooth and hair brushing were abandoned for the sake of time and sanity. Peeling her out of her dress-up clothes and encouraging her to empty her bladder were two welcomed victories, and that was enough for me. Finally, we made it out to the car and were officially en route to music class. We would be late, but we would make it. I glanced in the rear-view mirror and saw that her eyes were heavy and beginning to flutter. I cheerfully reminded her about seeing her friends, singing, and playing instruments, to which she responded, “me tired.” I paused. We both knew what she needed.

I turned the car around, and we headed home. I decided that as much as a beneficial experience music class is, today it might be more beneficial to submit to rest. So that’s what we did, and I decided to let go. I let go of my disappointments, of my small failures. Despite a bumpy morning, Avrie went to school happy. Isla is going to get the rest her body needs. I came to terms with the fact that its okay if some things are missed. There will always be activities and opportunities and are missed. But there are other opportunities. Opportunities for care. Opportunities for compassion.

I did not want to carry her into music class kicking and screaming and helplessly tired hoping for the good things that it would provide.  I’ve been there and done that.  I had to carry my oldest out of story time on more than one occasion while she was having a meltdown. I don’t need to cross things off of my checklist.  The list is fluid, The list can change. Being able to adjust is not just a skill,  its a survival skill. Assessing and adjusting is a way of life, especially for a parent.

In conclusion, Isla is currently napping and getting rest that her body needs. Consequently, I had some time to record this experience. Being able to write is good for my soul. It somehow fills in spaces inside of me that I feel have been empty for a while. Things may have seemed bleak, but now they feel good.

Heavy Words

It’s 3:47 am. I can’t sleep. I was going to say thoughts were running though my mind – rampant and racing, but that’s not true. There are only a few, but they are heavy. Heavy, anchored, and seemingly swelling. It’s parenting, and its tough. Not only the act of parenting, but just the role, the responsibility can be a mental mindtrap. There are so many things to worry about. I worry about how I handled situations, how I may have misread situations, how I may have messed up. I worry about missing things. I worry about being distracted. I worry about worrying too much. Tonight, well technically this morning, I worry that while I am navigating though the struggles of an emotional child who verbalizes her fears so eloquently, I may be neglecting the emotional needs of my younger child who struggles to express herself.

Sometimes, when she does express herself maturely , I am taken aback. Tonight, I was lying next to Isla in her bed, two tiny yet mighty arms wrapped tightly around me, she said, “sometimes Big Sissy doesn’t like me.” My heart stopped.  I struggled to speak, as if the words I was reaching for were trapped in my throat, being pushed back by the power of her words — their sentiment, and meaning.

These words took me completely by surprise, especially when I think about the relationship my girls have with each other. Avrie is a wonderful sister. She is sweet, patient, and an excellent role-model. However, sometimes she loses her patience. Honestly, we all do. I could be a better model for dealing with stress and maintaining patience with my girls. This is something I am actively working on, and I am improving. Isla struggles with screaming and lashing out when she wants something. Feeling like she cannot get her words out results in lots of yelling and frustration. “Use your words,” I say. Well tonight she did, and I had no idea she could even understand what it meant to dislike a person or to be able to feel something so big. I spoke to her like a big girl. I told her Sissy always loves her and named everyone in our family who loves her. She went to bed with a smile on her face and as I finish typing and hope to get some rest, I found a new focus. I need to concentrate on affirming Isla’s worth and helping to develop her own personal interests, and facilitate and encourage her own victories. I’ve been moving on autopilot lately, and she has been along for the ride. I need to give her more.