Saturday, May 7, 2011

When Moods Collide

Jarod has been sick now for, let's see...ever. Okay, not really. But it's his third day off work, and he's been trying to help with Zinashi, but it's not the same, and she knows it. And she knows that he's not in our bed at 3am because he's sick. And I have an extra child to watch on Saturdays, and I have to get there early, and it's a challenge with two small children who are each used to having attention to themselves and who are both going through a whining phase, and I am tired, and I am out of patience. So when Zinashi refuses to lay down on her bed and alternately climbs out and runs away or clings to me, I find I have very little left to give her. She needs me because she's afraid of what happens when people get sick, and her Ababi is sick, and I need space after lifting two children in and out of the car and the stroller and on and off public toilets all morning. It doesn't work very well. Her needs and mine have collided.

So here I am to bear witness to a time when I just couldn't do what I knew my child needed. When I couldn't give her a time in for thirty minutes to make her feel secure. When I wished for just a moment that she could just do this one thing like a typical child would do this one thing and freaking go to bed. This happens. I am not Super Mom. I cannot always do it right. I cannot always figure out a good compromise that will work for everyone.

What I want is for her to understand that she is safe here, and loved, and that a bad cold isn't sending anyone away permanently. I want her to feel secure enough to know that when we are in the other room, we are still quite near. "Just like in your llama book!" I tell her, and she nods. "Like his mama? Llama mama?" she inquires. "Yes! Just like llama and his mama!" And then I leave the room and hear the thunder of her footsteps heading for the door because we're not llamas and she has watched people get sick, and it didn't end well. She's still scared, and I can't blame her. But I'm still spent from the past few days and the morning with our Saturday companion, and I can't blame me, either.

So I allow my recovering, but still ailing, husband to go in there with her, and I sit in front of my computer and I type this out for you. You who will read and listen and understand what it's like when your best intentions just can't reach far enough.

Later, if she wants me to, and I think she will, I will put her in the carrier on my back and we will walk somewhere. If I take a nap first, I think it will make us both feel better.


  1. Everything's going to be ok. But you knew that. And in the words of my favorite OkGo song: let it go, this too shall pass. *hug*

  2. Sing it, sister. The other day, I was so worn out, I was getting angry with my infant because every time I wanted to eat, she'd throw a fit, and I kept telling her, if I don't eat, you can't eat! (We're nursing.) As though logic would appeal to her.

    Somedays, it's enough that you're simply there.

  3. I hope you got the nap. And I hope your husband feels better fast, for everyones' sake. The guilt over any percieved failure to be Perfect SuperMom is so so hard, I think. I feel it so often. Sending as much love and strength as I can in a comment.

  4. Thank you for this post and your honesty. I teared up reading this. All moms have moments like these. Your intentions do matter. Good for recognizing when you need to take care of your needs so that you can help her later. Hope everyone is feeling better soon!

  5. Much love to you. My thoughts are with you -- this is tough stuff, Mary, on a number of different levels. For what it's worth, I think you are doing an amazing job of riding the current of the circumstances you're in. It's more than OK for Z. to see you struggle too, and be honest about where you are, with her, even. (Also, I TOTALLY HEAR YOU on thinking you have, like, three seconds to yourself, when you hear those footsteps running toward you. Argh! All I wanted yesterday was a SHOWER to myself.)

    Blessings and warmth and respite and strength to all three of you.

  6. We all struggle with variations on this and it's okay. I try to be a "good enough" parent, not perfect and you are more than good enough. My husband was sick last week too - it's hard when the team isn't functioning 100%.


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