The little was trying to make small cards with just paper and markers. She cut of the paper, folded it, but it was too small to draw the size heart she wanted. Lots of whining. I asked if she wanted help because I could cut the paper a little bigger so the card would have more space. New size, ok here we go, everything is fine. Nope. The drawings were not coming out perfect. More whining. The colors weren’t showing up correctly on the pink paper. Whining. I suggested many times to simply take a break for a moment, rest the mind, take a few deep breaths and try again. “We can try a different marker, different paper.” Nothing was working, little was just not having it. I started to get frustrated because I was offering every choice and it just was not enough. It was not good enough. It was close to bed time anyways so I stated “Ok, your project is not coming out the way you would like it tonight and I’m not sure how to help you calm your voices and body so let’s stop, go to bed & we can try again tomorrow. Maybe it will work out better tomorrow.” You would have thought I threw away her baby blanket! All hell broke loose. Crying, screaming, stopping feet- lots of promises that she was going to calm down and she was going to stop so she could stay downstairs and watch her favorite show before bed. By then, I felt I was not going to be able to stay calm. It was over for me too. I kept my face calm, my voice was low and calm, but inside I was screaming. Not screaming at her, screaming at myself. Not in anyway upset by her meltdown, but I was just screaming at myself because I’m so damn tired and I tried my best, but it wasn’t enough.
We share a room so we went to our room and she got right in her bed. I was going to simply get in my bed and we were going to sit in quiet for a few moments to relax, then maybe, just maybe put a show on to rest before it was time to sleep. Nope. Failed mental plan. It felt so silly to even try to talk because I could tell nothing I was saying was being heard. I let her know that I was going to take a shower and she would stay in the room. I left the light on, closed the door, and took a shower. I might have cried silently for a few minutes not knowing if there were even tears or if it was just the water. Why the hell was I even crying? Because it’s what I do now. I was never very emotional as a teen, I still am not. But I’ve become a crier. I cry a lot at the littlest things. I cry to much probably and I don’t know how to fix it. I did a lot of self-talk with myself in the shower to understand what happened, what I could have done differently to help, and why I was upset. What I realized seems so silly to have related it all the the inability to create a perfect little card just for fun. I realized that I feel alone. So often do I feel lonely. I don’t talk much about my feelings, I don’t share my daily life with anyone, I don’t ask for help, I don’t like asking for help, I just don’t have anyone to share conversation with. Sure, I talk constantly to a 5 year old, but that’s not substantial conversation that allows me to share thoughts, questions, ideas and struggles. I feel lonely. Intellectually lonely. Emotionally lonely.
What the little was doing was sharing struggles with me and I did everything I could do help her know that I was present, I was hearing her, and I was actively working to resolve the struggle with her. Her self-talk was not allowing her to accept assistance. You could say we are alike. I struggle to accept assistance because I want to do it myself and be damn proud I did it myself. But that’s not always the healthiest. I have lived for 22 years this way and every day is a struggle to change that struggle. Most recently in my little journey of self discovery, I have worked extremely hard to adjust thought processes to be more open, understanding, and most importantly, rational. Because I have worked so hard to do so, I feel an increased need help the little learn some of those skills as well. I don’t want her being 22 having to figure it out. I don’t want her to feel alone. I don’t want her to be crying in the shower because she feels alone. She is never alone and
should never feel lonely in her feelings, ideas, triumphs and struggles. Tonight she might have felt alone, OR I might be thinking she felt alone. It might be all in my head. Oh the mind plays dirty tricks on us sometimes. I’m rambling at this point, BUT I felt it was important to share this event with you because it’s normal. The little fits because something didn’t happen correctly, the crying in the shower, the possibly crazy ideas you connect small incidents to- it’s all normal. You are never alone, you shouldn’t feel lonely. Nothing about being a mother is easy, except loving your child. You might dislike situations, you might dislike the way you or they handled them, but loving is easy. Listening is easy as well. Listen and love. I have taken a vow to listen to my own thoughts, feelings and struggles and learn to love myself. I vow to listen to her always and love her endlessly. Good times and bad, we’re in it for life and that is why it feels extraordinarily important, as a parent, to reflect on situations like this to understand how to care for yourself when it’s frustrating enough you just want to scream.
Reflect, understand, learn, grow.