As far as parenting goes, last night was a rough one.
R was having a total meltdown over a game he bought for his ipod that kept crashing, and M was adamant that she was not taking a bath. By the time I got both kiddos to bed I was exhausted, physically and mentally.
I swear I went out as soon as my head hit the pillow. I have no idea how long I was asleep when I thought I heard M's little voice...
Now I know all you mom's out there have lived this scenario.
Something startles you awake, but you're not quite sure what it was.
You think you hear your child, but your not 100% sure.
It can't be, right?
Tonight was supposed to be the night no one wakes up and you get 7 whole hours of solid sleep!
You lay there, and have the following conversation with yourself:
"You must be hearing things. She's not awake. She CANNOT be awake. Maybe if I ignore her, she'll stop.
Maybe if I ignore her, hubby will get her.
Oh wait, he's not home.
WHY??? WHY GOD??? WHY???
Why can I not get ONE LOUSY NIGHT of sleep????
I'm getting up!"
You know this has happened to you!!!!
Just as I'm about to drag myself out of bed, I hear Jay's soothing daddy voice, and I think to myself "Thank you, sweet Jesus! He's home and I don't have to get up now!!!"
:::singing this and dancing joyfully in my head:::
Except after a few minutes, I hear her again, only this time she's calling for me... "Momma, Momma, I want MOMMA!!!!"
I know I'm terrible, but I have to get up so freaking early for work, that I really tried to ignore her again. "Let him handle it" I thought to myself, until I heard her again, only louder. This time she sounded like she was in pain, and the panic set in. So I dragged myself out of bed and went running across the hall.
As I leaned over her tiny body in her little "big girl" bed, she reached out her hand and placed it on my cheek. The next thing I know she's wrapping herself around me and sobbing, "momma, momma". We're still not 100% sure exactly what happened. We know she had a bad dream. We know that in this dream, something bad happened to me. She wouldn't, or couldn't, tell us exactly what it was. She just kept crying and clutching me, squeezing me up. All I know is that it took forever to calm her down, and that girl held on to me so tightly... it made my heart ache.
In that moment, as I was laying there with my head on M's tiny chest, as she squeezed me tight and caressed my hair, it suddenly reminded me of the day my mom told me she had cancer. In that moment, I remembered it so clearly. Laying on my bed, curled up in the fetal position, sobbing with my head on mom's lap. "I don't want you to die" I said. "I don't want to die either" she replied. "Please don't leave me" I begged her. She promised me, "I'll do everything I can to stay".
In that instant, laying there with M, I couldn't help but cry. The memory of the fear I felt at that time was so real and so raw, and the thought of my baby girl feeling that way about me, it just broke my heart. The thought of her feeling that kind of pain, it ripped me right at my core.
She did eventually calm down, about 45 min later. Luckily for me, she let me go back to sleep after about 20 min... and her daddy stayed the rest of the time until she fell asleep.
As prepared as you think you are as a parent, sometimes even the most common of occurrences can catch you off guard.
There are so many facets to parenthood, so many emotions you feel that you could never even fathom before you had a child. I've heard it likened to walking around with your heart on the outside of your body, and I think that's a good analogy. It's like a part of you is out there, vulnerable, but you can't see it or protect it. I wish I could protect her from that fear. I wish there was a way I could reassure her that I will always be here, but we all know there are no guarantees. I would love to shelter all five of them from the harsh realities of life, but I know it's just not possible. I know we can't shield them from the world forever.
We never know what life will bring.
We have no choice but to fill each day with love, laughter and as much fun as we possibly can.
So, I'll just file last night under F for FAIL and move on.
I will give no second thoughts to sending M to bed without her bath, or letting her go to school today with lip gloss and Desitin in her hair.
I'll pay no mind to the fact that R got me so angry I slammed his door and the picture fell off the wall.
It certainly wasn't the first bad night we've had. It certainly won't be the last. I'm also fairly certain the kids won't remember it. That's the blessing of childhood, of their innocence, every day is a clean slate.
I'm thinking maybe I should take a lesson from them.