Falling onto the floor in utter heartbreak over her socks being “wonky”. Whining, screaming, screeching, flailing. It all sounds so benign and almost cute when I write it out. But the reality is rocking my world. She sobs “I can’t stop! I can’t help it!” and I believe her. The emotions she is feeling are just So Big. The upheaval in her life is huge and the reality that this is the new normal is hitting us all like a ton of bricks. Being the Mom is really hard but I do, wholeheartedly, believe that being the toddler is harder (much harder).
But this morning I failed. I said things I really wanted to never say, “I can’t do this anymore, I need to do something… change something… something BIG.” I cried those words to Charlie over the phone and he fell silent and listened. “What can you do? What do you mean?” and I had no answer.
We stumbled into the car, overfull with carseats, clothes, books, old hot chocolates and endless crumbs. We made our way to the Mom Group at my church and I rested. In prayer, in easy light conversation, in someone I know and trust watching Nolie and feeding her homemade cookies, in time.
We shared lunch with Charlie (he works at the Church) and then packed up to face the home front again. I tossed my diaper bag into the car and a $20 bill came out. This is shocking. There is no extra money, there are no hidden stashes, this was a gift. Some loving Mama stealthily put this into my bag. I pulled away and the weight of that $20 hit me- redemption.
Ever fell asleep five minutes into the drive and I turned off the music and talked with my oldest. She told me a story, she asked me about “seasons change. You know about chestnuts mama? you know leaves change colors? you know I nursed and bottled a baby today?”
We pulled up to the drive through window of a coffee shop; Double (decaf, stupid UTI) americano, kids cocoa and a muffin. We split the muffin and drove on. Ever snored and we drove further and further out. Past cows and horses, silos and barns and finally to my big open field. The same one I drove to during the fall apart while I was night weaning (this one).
The road was empty, I parked the car and sat there. Remembering how much I love Nolie. Her running commentary on cows (they have spots and some are black but their milk is just white anytime, how funny!) and how she has taken to her new roll of sister with incredible love and grace.
In that deep breath, in her story, in the empty field and huge clouds; I realized that ‘big change’ I was needing. I need to find ways to refill WITH Nolie. I have bought the lie that I need to be getting X amount of alone time in order to be a “good mom” but the truth is that I need to spend time appreciating my girls. Not just maintaining a house, keeping them slept/fed, occupying them, etc. I need to know them, appreciate them and be willing to cast the rest of that aside in oder to know them and understand them. I will find time to be alone, I will have ample time to pursue all my passions one day. Today is a day for forgiving quickly, asking for forgivness from Nolie (and Charlie too probably!), talking to her, holding her, nursing her and really hearing her.
So whatever Mama left us that gift… a gift that furnished the ability to buy a drive through drink and a chance at knowing my girl again, thank you. You gave a huge gift to our whole family.