Written by guest author Dianne Bright:
You know those days where you wish you could type "Control Z" and start all over? It would be nice if you could chalk up the failures as typos that the spell-checker would catch. But life isn't like that; unfortunately, our words and actions are not intimately aligned with a mastermind underlining them in red or green for spelling and grammatical accuracy. I wish that some of my mean words and less than perfect actions could be corrected as easily as a right click of the mouse.
As parents, we have to produce our best efforts and then move on. If we've said something to our kids that we'd like to take back, then we need to apologize and accept our humanness. Even though we can't erase the errors or misspellings from the previous day, we can move forward and aim to do better in the subsequent days and weeks.
Yesterday was a chaotic downward spiral of parenting failures and defeats. I wasn't void of numerous causes for feeling insane. In fact, many of my impatient and frustrated responses were fully merited, as all three kids had conspired against me. The day had the feel of a prolonged nightmare that just wouldn't end. It made me feel that this summer might be the longest one ever since we're just at the warm up stage of the first lap, here in the third week of June.
Starting in the morning, my middle child didn't get something she wanted and dramatically announced how she wanted to die and then responded by hiding inside of a pillow to punish me. Subsequently, after way too much effort just to get everyone fed and dressed, we were off to return a video and to drive through the car-wash. After three attempts, including two reversal maneuvers out of the car-washing tunnel and five minutes of my toddler's terrified howls, our mossy green mini-van was clean.
Five minutes later, we arrived at the park. Getting some fresh air seemed in order, so we stretched our limbs and sprinted toward the red and blue play-set. Quickly thereafter, two of my kids decided to run through the park's recently turned on sprinkler system while fully clothed, which was less than ideal because I hadn't brought their swimsuits or any towels.
After being soaked in recycled park water, my youngest covered herself in mud from several falls along the way of our grass-covered trail back to the car. As I thought about the possibility of any misplaced dry clothes being in the van, my soaking wet children ran at a cheetah-paced-sprint across the field toward the street while I yelled like a wild hyena trying to get them to stop. Thankfully our oldest caught up to his younger sisters and stopped them just short of the street.
With my luck, there were only extra sweaters and socks in the car, so we decided to head home. The library had to be postponed, as did any remnants of my sanity. Later in the day, the unending saga of chaos continued, as my middle daughter attempted to turn the stove on by herself. Thankfully, I noticed the attempt quickly and avoided carbon monoxide poisoning.
In the early evening, we all ventured out for some more fresh air, where my dog flattened my daughter and subsequently almost got into a fight with an unruly pit-bull. That was really minor though compared to my dog pooping on the only lawn that had its residents out front and the embarrassment of my youngest daughter subsequently playing in the poop while I apologized to the neighbors. When my middle child started peeling bird poop off of a green city post up ahead, I started wondering why I'd thought going on a walk was such a brilliant idea in the first place.
You know those days when you think locking yourselves in for the day would have been preferable? This was one of those days. If only I'd had the vampire Jasper from the Twilight books there to calm me down with his uncanny ability to comfort.
After seemingly endless hours of my kids' whining and bickering, along with a series of disastrous messes, as if a desert sandstorm had attacked my house, we were ready for some dinner. To say the least, I was not about to add to the mountain sized pile of dishes in the sink, so I made an SOS call to Little Caesar's.
The calm before the storm, or does it come after the storm? Either way, I was longing for some peace, though it didn't seem to come until much later in the night. After a two hour attempt to get my wild children to bed, I finally collapsed onto the couch next to my loving husband, where I unloaded the horrors of the day.
"Sometimes you're the lemon and sometimes you're the lemonade. Sometimes you're the bug and sometimes you're the windshield." We've heard these adages before and they occasionally carry a weight of humor to them, but not when you're the lemon making the lemonade or the bug disgracefully decorating the windshield with your own guts.
Yesterday, I was the lemon and the bug. But, today is a new day. We must press on as parents realizing that our best is all that we can give. Parenting can feel like a blind aerospace mission to fly to the unknown discovering new planets and other forms of extra-terrestrial life. Unfortunately, as human parents, we don't get a map or an instruction manual; but, it's a good thing we come internally wired with an excessive amount of love and patience. We just have to take it one day at a time.