Monday, March 15, 2010

Bad Day

I'm so glad yesterday is over and today is a new day. Maybe it was the time change, or the fact that I woke up with a stuffy nose this morning, but it was just one of those days filled with rage, self defeat and jealousy.

It started out okay. We went to church and got nicely fired up by our wonderful PASTOR (that was for him, since he worries the term "pastor" is somehow derogatory in this day and age) as he made us think about the concept of evil in a new way. I love how he spends weeks thinking on a passage of scripture, and researching the ideas of others, and then presents it to us with way more work put into the subject than I would be willing to invest, but I come away with new ideas to consider.

Church was good. William had a birthday party at 2 pm, his first ever party to be dropped off and picked up. I had been talking to him about it for a week, prepping him that I wouldn't be there. He wasn't keen on the idea but on the actual day seemed excited to go. I was relieved since I have a deep-seeded fear of him turning out like Will Ferrell's character on Stepbrothers - still living at home as a 45 year old man, not able to let go of my hand.

I told the mom of the birthday party boy that William might struggle with being in a new environment without me. He finds it so hard to warm up to a new situation, and by the time he's comfortable, usually the event is over. I have no idea how to help him with his anxieties in these situations, other than to make him do what he is afraid of doing to see that it's not so bad. All of us need to do that sometimes to prove that we can do it and survive.

I dropped him off and he didn't look back, disappearing into the house with other kids he knew. I breathed a huge sigh of relief and went home for 2 hours of writing time. When I went to get him, standing in the entryway with all of the other parents there to collect their darlings, I heard that he had cried on and off for me, that both parents had to "tag team" to comfort him, and that he eventually had fun but really missed me. Instant devastation. I didn't realize until much later in the day, when I tried to figure out why my mood was so damned black, but I felt embarrassed of my small son, and my own parenting, and wished he was like all of the other 4 year olds that could have fun and not cry for their mothers.

We came home and Ava asked to ride her bike for the first time this season. We took it down, got her set up, and I expected she would just ride away and have fun. She didn't. She rode with no confidence up and down the block with me running beside her, bringing up emotions from last summer when she took absolutely forever to learn to ride a 2 wheeler. And she is my daredevil child. Kids all around, much younger, were whizzing around while she was happy to stay on her little bike with training wheels. She finally got it last summer, and now seems to have forgotten it over the winter. When she eventually crashed, narrowly missing our neighbour's truck, there was some crying (her), some yelling (me), and I bustled us all inside and away from the other happy neighbours outside enjoying the beautiful weather.

Why is it so hard to accept our kids as they are? I should not be looking at other kids and comparing mine to them. I must support and encourage my kids where they are, but some days I don't know how to do it. I become this shrill, angry woman, expecting my kids to meet a standard I have set that they aren't able to meet. Then we all feel bad about ourselves. I felt like a failure as a mom yesterday. And I always take it to the extreme: "She'll never ride a 2 wheeler", "He'll never be able to individuate away from me."

Staying in the moment is what I'm going to work on today. Taking a deep breath and listing the good qualities of my kids, and my strengths as a mom. Focusing on the positive instead of the negative. Realizing people aren't judging me as harshly as I'm criticizing myself. Life is about mistakes, and learning from those mistakes. It's not the end of the world, and a failure is not a life sentence. It's an opportunity to grow, change and become a better person. Today I'm going to find grace for myself and for my kids, and hopefully for others around me in the process.


  1. I have seen a lot of 4 year olds in my day and I totally think that William IS like a lot of them. I think that its probably hard for you because you have two kids with oposite personalities in many ways. When I use to teach Ava she was years ahead of 99% of the kids in maturity and confidence. This became your norm.

    I bet by next month Ava will be ridding all over the place without those wheels. We all get rusty over winter!

  2. Oh, Cortney, thank you so much for your kind words about my kids. It has not been an easy week so your words have really encouraged me.

    You make a great point about Ava's personality being the norm for me so William's qualities have been hard to adjust to (and they aren't bad, just radically different). Someone else today encouraged me to see William's sensitivity as positive instead of negative. That was a new thought for me and I've been pondering it.

    I'll let you know as the bike riding progresses. I'm sure my standards were just a bit too high for the first ride of the season...