(I wrote this post last week and never published it for whatever reason. Since then there has been so much sadness in my friends’ worlds. Unspeakable things. I’m thankful to have written this when I did, and learn the things I have over the last week of unrelated bad news for so many people.)
Today has been one of THOSE parenting days. The difficult days that leave you wondering “Is today over yet?”
Vivi is getting over a wicked case of roseola, meaning she’s covered from head to toe in a rash and unfit for public consumption due to said viral rash and accompanying bad attitude. She hasn’t napped for a couple of days, hasn’t slept well for a couple of nights, hasn’t eaten well for a few days and it’s all swirling together into a giant cabin fevered rash covered storm — a storm I’m right in the middle of.
There has been a lot of gnashing and wailing as of late, today she lost her mind because she didn’t have enough cheese on her sandwich. She doesn’t understand why she feels so terrible and I’m tired of trying to reason with toddler willpower and attitude.
Whenever I take to Facebook in search of solidarity I’m slapped upside the head with reality. A tiny newborn in need of a heart transplant, a little girl diagnosed with an extremely rare form of childhood cancer, a friend’s 32 year old wife died in her sleep, their house just burned down.
All I have is a toddler with a rash, my period, and an eight year old with a serious case of the eye rolls and heavy sighs.
Last night I found myself wishing away that last long half an hour before bedtime so I could have personal space, a moment of silence and snack I didn’t have to share. Moments later I was punched in the gut with the guilt that comes from wishing away even a single minute of my life. Anything and everything can change in a minute, there’s still a part of me that panics whenever the phone rings. What if this call is the call where everything changes? The call that causes my entire life to take a 180 from where I thought it was headed?
My friend took her daughter in for a stomachache, she left with a cancer diagnosis.
Several friends have had babies, everything was perfect and fine — until it wasn’t.
His doctor found something, six weeks later he was gone.
And I was wishing away a half an hour with my family so I could be alone.
The guilt could eat me alive if I let it.
I have a family member who is a bit of a perspective expert, which isn’t always a good thing.
“Having a hard parenting day? Think of all those people with dead children.”
“Think your husband is gone too much? At least you know where he his, he could be at war or having an affair with another woman.”
“Pregnancy is rough? What about all those women who will never be pregnant?”
The thing is, the cancer diagnosis of another or the loss of life doesn’t make Vivi’s bloodcurdling shrieks any easier to manage. It doesn’t make her fever go away, her tantrums cease or my patience any greater. Someone will always have it worse and I refuse to participate in a battle over whose suffering is worse.
I’ve had a terrible day, you’ve probably had one at one time or another too. It’s okay to say “Today isn’t my favorite.” When someone else admits the same don’t undermine their difficulties with “well at least you’re not dead/alone/ugly/sick/poor/divorced/homeless/covered in warts.”
A lot of my friends are going through difficult situations right now, chances are you are too. Their misery doesn’t make my reality any easier or better — what it does do is make me even more thankful when things are going well. When the rage is silent, my babies are sleeping and I have a moment to myself, I am able to be grateful for everything going on around me. I am able to look forward to a new day with the people I love, a lifetime serving the friends I cherish and as many moments as possible with these little creatures who call me mom, even if they are peppered with fits and attitude on occasion.
Find more of Casey’s writing on her blog moosh in indy. She’s also available on twitter, facebook, flickr and Instagram. If you can’t find her any of those places? Check the couch, she’s probably taking a nap.