Getting through: the best and the worst

Today is James’s last day in daycare – I am trying to ready myself for the chaos of having two tiny souls in my charge – and I am not going to lie: I am terrified.

Especially since the past stretch Saturday-Sunday-Monday was, what I confessed to Dan later, possibly my least three favourite days of parenting on record.

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Saturday Dan worked, James descending into sickness, refusing to eat, crying at the drop of a hat, hating everything. Sunday, all of us parked on the couch while James fought a fever, crying, screaming, generally being miserable. Monday, both kids with me, an afternoon of both of them crying at various times, reaching the true nadir when the baby was screaming in the carrier and I picked J up to bring him inside, covered in dirt from digging in a giant dirt pile, trying to rinse him off the in sink while both boys screamed, one in strapped to my chest, the other in my arms.

I called Dan, begging him to come home, utterly overwhelmed, a sinking ship.

What if I can’t handle my own kids? What if I don’t want to? What kind of mother does that make me?

But there’s been some really good stuff too.

We took James to a little cabin in the mountains where we hiked and sat around a campfire. He wanted to walk on his own. He wanted to touch leaves, walk over bridges and kept asking to see more waterfalls. We couldn’t get him to stop gathering wood at the campfire. He had his first marshmallow. You could feel his excitement about it all and it brought back so many memories of what I loved about going to the cabin as a little kid.

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I still get that feeling every time we drive into the mountains – it’s like opening a window and letting the light flood in.

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Yesterday, Charlie and I drove to Banff to meet up with a friend. Dan said: “Are you really doing this?” It has been a week of terrible sleeping and again – the worst three days ever.

But the plans had taken forever to work out and I couldn’t bail. And lo and behold, Charlie slept all the way there, all the way up Tunnel Mountain, sat quietly smiling through lunch and we only had to stop for a brief feed on the way home, after which, he passed right back out.

Which is all to say: Somehow, even through the thick of the worst, we have find time for the things we love in life? Don’t we? Even if it seems like too much work – even if there’s a possibility the baby might scream for that hour drive – it’s worth it – for the fresh air, for the time to listen to podcasts in the car, to see a friend, to walk, to see mountains or trees or water or whatever surrounds you – to go to the place that opens that window.

It’s easier writing those words than living that truth. All we can do is try.

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