Being a parent is a lot like what I imagine being Bipolar to be like. There are good days and bad days. The highs are high and the lows are oh so low.
Yesterday we had a bad day. It all started with Ben waking up screaming at 5:30. Very early for a kid that usually sleeps till 7:30/8:00. He was like a person possessed. Screaming, kicking, running down the hall and banging on the doors. I wasn’t allowed to hold him but also not aloud to put him down. He wanted his bottle but would scream when I try and make it. I then gave him the bottle and he threw it on the floor and then continued to cry about wanting his bottle. I eventually got him to calm down. We had a bit of peace and quiet before it was time to change his diaper. Once again with the kicking and screaming. Wriggling around making it impossible for me. I eventually had to pin him down with my knee so I could get the diaper on. I continued to dress him while he screamed. As I was about to put his shoes on he grabbed one and threw it at my head. I lost it. I screamed at him. The kind of scream that leaves his little face in shock. I immediately felt the shame and guilt wash over me. I tried to give him a hug and bribe him with a cookie but he was having none of it. I wrestled him to the car and into his car seat. Both of us now crying. We drove all the way to school in total silence, not even looking at each other. Him still wearing only one shoe. I dropped him off, got in my car and felt so very relieved. I know this sounds horrible but I was in no mood to take care of him all day.
And then you have days like today. I stared at his peaceful sleeping face. He slowly opened his eyes and gave me a sleepy smile. He softly whispered “mamma tee (mommy tea)” I picked him up and he threw his arms around my neck and gave me the biggest kiss, followed by a dazzling toddler smile. My heart melted. He drank his bottle while I had coffee. We watched a little bit of Timmy Time and then got dressed. No tears. He even held his little foot out so I could put his socks and shoes on. I told him it was time to go so he grabbed his blanky and ran to the car. He climbed into his car seat and waited for me to buckle him up. We drove to school laughing and chatting. He pointed at the cows and we waived as we drove by. I dropped him off thinking maybe I’ll pick him up a little earlier than usual and we can go to the park.
This is parenthood. The good and the bad. The great thing is that even on the bad days you still get a hug when you drop him off at school. And when you show up later he runs across the school yard and jumps into your arms excitedly. Because this is the kind of love that survives bad days.
And so my wish for the future is that even when he is all grown up, with his own ideas, opinions and dreams we will still be able to hug it out on the bad days. When I’m a ‘bad’ mom or he is a ‘bad’ child we will always remember that our love is bigger than that. Because life is too short and family too valuable to walk around with a grudge.