Allow me to preface. On Monday, Remi was sent home from daycare because of a fever. On Tuesday, Remi and Gia stayed home. On Wednesday, Remi stayed home and Gia returned to daycare. That same afternoon, Gia was sent home from daycare because of a fever. On Thursday, Remi and Gia stayed home.
My husband is working a week of afternoon shifts, so I worked from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. each day before coming home to take over. The days were long and the girls were miserable, understandably so. They needed me and I was there. I have been wiping raw, red noses every minute or two, so it feels. I comforted through coughing fits. I dried tears from poorly eyes. The nights were even longer. I consoled, checked temperatures, administered Tylenol, sang sweet songs. I am tired!
This morning, I woke up to shower at 5:15 a.m. My three girls were up before 6:00 a.m. Remi was in a state. For about an hour, she tantrumed – crying, screaming, kicking, flailing. I tried talking to her. I tried listening. I tried soothing. I tried comforting. I tried singing. I tried hugging. I tried rocking. I tried bribing. I tried ignoring. I tried walking away. Nothing worked! I sat on the couch. Lorelai and Gia were sitting on my lap, while Remi contorted in fits of unexplainable fury.
I was overwhelmed. The stress of the week with sick preschoolers, lost time at work, errands and housework mounting, single parenting evenings, lack of sleep…and Remi!
There was nothing left to do but cry, and cry I did. I couldn’t see past the tears or breathe through the sobbing, but then something happened. Silence…for just a few moments. Remi regained composure. Lorelai and Gia got off my lap. All three stood before me bewildered. Gia asked, “Mama, you crying?” Remi asked, “Mama, you sad?” Lorelai asked, “Mama, what’s wrong?” I answered that I was just tired, but I think they all knew that it was more. Lorelai got the familiar box of tissue, took one and gave one to each of her sisters. Together, they dabbed at my tears, just as I have been doing for them their entire lives. Then they all told me they were sorry and hugged me; hugged me in a way that made me feel the way they must feel when I hug them. Genuine love…pure love.
Immediately after, I felt guilty. Guilty that they had to witness my moment of weakness, and hoping they didn’t feel responsible for my emotional release. At the same time, I felt better…so much better. I took a few deep breaths and regained my own composure. My husband woke up and tagged in for his Daddy shift. I got dressed for work, kissed the twins goodbye and headed out into the fresh air with Lorelai. All was forgotten, a weight removed. We cranked Can’t Stop The Feeling in the car and sang at the top of our lungs as we drove to school.
I’ve been thinking about this morning all day and was inspired to write. Parenting is hard. We are vulnerable. It’s okay to feel raw emotion. Crying was an outlet for me this morning and writing is an outlet for me tonight. Tomorrow is a new day, and I will live to fight. I am mother.
How do you cope when situations overwhelm you?