Yesterday at this time Avery and I were taking advantage of a warm day in winter by going for a peaceful horseback ride together in the country. We wore sweaters. Avery’s golden curls sparkled in the afternoon sun. It was glorious.
Today it was freezing outside and I got hit in the face with a banana peel.
It occurs to me that this is why writers often use weather as a metaphor. It also occurs to me that dragging someone kicking and screaming is only a metaphor until you have a toddler.
I have been on a diet plan lately called the epic fail. It’s where you eat whenever you are hungry and also when there is food available. Therefore I need to go to the gym and since I am a stay-at-home-mom I bring my children with me. Today, kicking and screaming. Well, not the little one. She was sleeping and drooling (God Bless that little bald, toothless child.)
There was a moment before we left the house when I thought, gosh, it would just be so much easier to stay home, placate both of us with junk food and watch Dora the Explorer. We were in a standoff, each of us upset that we weren’t getting the other person to do what we wanted. It was probably just as frustrating for her as it was for me, but I knew if I gave in it would lead to a downward spiral of tantrums and sweatpants all around.
What Avery thought to herself in this moment:
I shall convey my displeasure by throwing this banana peel at her and then promptly removing the coat and shoes she just put on me.
What I wish I thought to myself in this moment:
“Through the blur, I wondered if I was alone or if other parents felt the same way I did – that everything involving our children was painful in some way. The emotions, whether they were joy, sorrow, love or pride, were so deep and sharp that in the end they left you raw, exposed and yes, in pain. The human heart was not designed to beat outside the human body and yet, each child represented just that – a parent’s heart bared, beating forever outside its chest.”
― Debra Ginsberg
What I actually thought to myself in this moment:
Maybe I can distract her long enough to get her shoes and coat back on if I tell her I just saw a cat run through the backyard.
Being a mom has lots of challenges, the first of which is growing a baby in your body until it gets to be about 9lbs, then giving birth to it. Or if you adopt, going through months or years of hope and disappointment waiting to get a baby. I think we start with the hardest challenge to give us perspective on the day-to-day stuff that happens in the years to come.
Anyway, I feel the need to end this by apologizing to my mom about my behavior as a two-year-old. I’m sure I was a holy terror at times. But incidentally, Mom, what ever happened to that cat in the backyard?
*UPDATE* Upon reading this post my mother said, “you’re JUST NOW realizing there was never a cat?” And sadly, my answer was a pathetic yes. Well played, Mom.