Friday, 26 September 2014

When your kids make you cry

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So I'm lying in bed right now, trying to stay put, because I feel absolutely miserable and know that bed is the best place for me right now to fight whatever bug I caught. But as I was lying here, mind racing in the silence of my room, I started thinking about these (almost) four years since I became a mother...and I realized something that I never really realized before.  I've never cried so much in my life as I have since becoming a mother. 

It's something that I wasn't prepared for. It's something that the OB's and doctors don't talk to you about. It's silent whisperings that I somehow never heard about through all of the mommy groups that I got to know. I know that everyone says that parenting is the hardest job in the world (yes, indeed it is), but I wasn't prepared for the shedding of tears that I now know comes along with the title of "mom" (at least for me, that is).  

It's starts from the moment that you take a deep breath and stare at those two little blue lines. Those lines that tell you that you're going to be a mom. Those lines that tell you that your life now immediately shifts, changes and transforms into something else...something wonderful, something incredible. And you cry. Because this is what you've always wanted and you just can't believe that it's actually happening.

Then the day comes when you're lying on that table, belly covered in cold gel, heart pounding as you hear the click, click, click of the computer beside you and the intense silence that fills the room. And then she finally turns the screen and you get that first glimpse of your baby...and you cry. Soft, slow tears of relief and disbelief, because you just can't believe that you're actually watching this little life that is growing inside of you. And that heartbeat that flickers on the screen means that the whole weight of the world has just been lifted from your shoulders. So the tears stream down.

Pregnant with Carter

Then that incredible day arrives when the cramping starts and the phone calls are made and the rush to the hospital begins. The day that is long and tiring and painful and amazing. My absolute favourite day of the entire process. My absolute favourite. The day that I look forward to and anticipate and yearn for for nine long months. The day that that sweet little baby is born. The day that your life changes forever. So as he takes that first real breath, and let's out that first beautiful tiny cry, you weep...because a miracle has just been placed in your arms, and it's the most incredible thing in the world.

Newborn Mya

Then you go home and soak up that newborn smell, and welcome visitors, and change diapers and zip up tiny sleepers and gaze at this precious little soul for hours on end.

Until that moment.

That moment when it all becomes overwhelming. When it's 4am and you're still rocking a crying baby who hasn't slept at all all night long. That baby who wants you unconditionally. Who will sleep on your chest but nowhere else. Who is crying and crying and crying and you just can't figure out how to soothe him...and you're exhausted. And you cry right along with him. Because sometimes it's all that you can do.

Then all of a sudden a year has gone by and your heart is pounding as you strap your now one year old into that car seat and pretend for his sake that you're not about to melt down at the wheel as you pull out of your driveway. And you continue to pretend that you're not on the verge of a full blown anxiety attack as you pull into the daycare parking lot for the first time and walk through those doors. And you hold it together for the moment that you hand him off to those loving ladies who reassure you that his tears will stop once you leave...and you kiss him goodbye, and hold him in that moment for as long as you possibly can before you have to be strong and let go. And you walk out. And you cry. And cry. And cry.

Carter-1yr old

Mya-1yr old

Then another year goes by and you have a two year old who is silly and funny, and fast and lovable. And you can't believe that you're staring at a two year old when it feels like it was just yesterday that you were rushing to the hospital anticipating his arrival. But you learn very quickly that two year olds are tricky and exhausting and emotional and full of meltdowns and crying. So toddler meltdowns become your norm, counting to 10 to keep your patience in check becomes routine and reminding yourself that everything is a phase becomes your daily self-talk. Because two year olds are not always easy. So on days when life is hard, work is stressful, the house is a mess and your two year old decides to scream and cry over every little thing imaginable...sometimes all you can do is wave your white mama flag that tells the world you've given up for a moment, and you sit on your bed and shed a few tears. Because motherhood is not always easy.

Carter, almost 2yrs old...meltdown #1000

Mya at 2yrs old...meltdown #1000

And then when they hit the ripe old age of three, and the diapers are gone, preschool (then kindergarten, in our case) has started, the meltdowns in the grocery store line have ended and they start turning into true little people, you learn very quickly that life is now changing once again. You all of a sudden have a child, not a baby anymore.

You have a child who is fun and witty and still learning who she is. You have a child who will test boundaries, test your patience and who is learning the importance of her tone of voice--because three year olds still have a lot to learn. And so when you go to pick up that three year old from school one day and the teacher pulls you aside, you have a moment of panic because you just don't know what is coming. And then they stand there, smiling, telling you that your daughter is so loving and caring and has a "soul that is so kind"...and you breathe, and then take a minute in your car on the ride home and try to hold back those tears once again. Not simply because you're so proud of her, but because you know that the journey has not been easy, and you're so grateful that you're now finally in this place. So for all of those days when motherhood felt so overwhelming, when siblings were fighting (yes indeed they do), when you could hear your voice getting louder, trying to be heard above the noise (yes, guilty)...well, they're all of a sudden washed away a bit...because her soul is kind. And that's all that we could ever wish for. And not that it's always this way every day--we're still reminded daily that she is still three and still has a lot of learning to do. But the tears that day came from knowing that the work, tireless patience, daily reminders to keep toddler behaviours in check, moments when we felt like we were actually losing our minds and constant, never-ending love and sacrifices that we poured out over the past four years were all worth it in that one little moment.

So when someone tells you to soak up and enjoy every last minute of parenthood, kindly smile and nod and then remind yourself that parenthood is a journey that is hard and tiring and wonderful and amazing. And man, will it ever make you cry.

Erica xo



Thursday, 4 September 2014

1st day of kindergarten

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So...we did it.

The first day of kindergarten is under our belt.

And although I pretended throughout the entire morning that I was super excited for her...doing the happy dance in her bedroom as we clapped and cheered that this exciting day was finally here...I had a moment in my car as I left her where it hit me hard and I wiped away a few tears.

Because as much as I know that kindergarten will be so good for her and there is no doubt that she will grow, learn, mature and make a ton of new friends (not to mention experience new things that she wouldn't have otherwise)...letting go of your babies into the 'real' world is still hard.

But the good news is that she loved it. Absolutely loved it. She walked through those school doors this morning, smiling, excited and didn't even look back.

And when Terry and I sat outside of those same school doors at the end of the day, the very first eager-beaver parents there, watching like hawks as the doors opened and closed as each class piled out, we finally spotted our girl...and she was smiling...thrilled to see us and even more excited to tell us about her first day.

"I want to go to school a bunch of times mommy!" she said.

And you could feel the sigh of relief coming from both Terry and I.

So, we made it. And we'll start all over again tomorrow, with a lot less anxiety and a lot more confidence. Because she loves it. And that's all that we could ask for right now.

And after school? Well, as Terry and I were making dinner tonight we walked into the living room to find these two snuggling...because a mixture of exhaustion and missing your mini side-kick all day means that sibling time, when they're not wrestling over toys, is now a bit more precious.

So to all of the parents out there who dropped off their little ones to school this week...give yourself a pat on the back. You got the lunches made, you got the outfits picked out, you got the forms filled out and the labels stuck on. You did it.

And if you peeled your little one off of your neck today, tears rolling down their cheeks, please know that it will get easier and easier with each new day. I promise you.
I carried several teary eyed JK's into my classroom this week, reassuring their parents that they would be okay once they got into the school...and each and every one of them was. It's a process that sometimes takes a bit of time, but it will get better, it will get easier...just hang in there and keep telling them how great school will be. It will all come together, I promise.

Happy first week of school everyone--teachers, parents and students alike. We all made it.

Erica xo


Monday, 1 September 2014

The night before school starts

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Here it is.

The night before school starts.

As a teacher, every single year before this one has been the same for me. The same feelings. The same nervousness, anxiety, excitement and always that ting of panic (do I have every single thing ready for these students and parents??). It's always stepping into the unknown. Stepping into a new year, with new kids, new parents, new experiences.

But this year is completely different.

My nerves aren't as much for my own experiences--my own students and parents..they're completely for my kids experiences.

Carter is going to daycare tomorrow. And I can tell you right now it won't be easy. There will be tears from him--guaranteed--and from me I'm sure too, alone in my car on the way to work. Because dropping off your babies to anyone (even if you know they are being incredibly well cared for), is just plain hard.

And Mya? Well, I know she'll be okay eventually--but I worry about her too of course. I worry that she'll feel uncomfortable. That she'll feel shy. That she'll feel nervous and worried. I worry that she'll feel left out or alone. Because it's hard walking into a classroom full of strangers--especially when you're only 3yrs old.

But life moves us forward, and as much as I'd like to wrap my kids in bubble wrap and climb into bed and just snuggle them and not let them go for the next 80years, I realize that this is a far cry from reality (or what is actually good for them of course). So we set off tomorrow on a new adventure, a new reality and a lot of change.

And I'll realize in the process that by baking up 10x the recipe for my muffins, and packing up a weeks worth of school lunches for all of us, and getting literally everything labelled with either Mya or Carter's name on it are all just distraction tactics to make me feel like I'm ready for this. Because if you appear to be organized and ready, then maybe you actually will be.

But it's all lies. It's all complete lies.

I don't think I'll ever really be ready to hand over my kids. Now, or when they're 30.

It's why father's have a hard time giving away their daughters as they walk down the aisle, dressed in white. It's why a mother cries when she kisses her daughter goodbye as she boards a plane to work overseas. It's why I'll be in my car tomorrow, pretending that I'm not as upset as I really am, as I drive away from my babies. Because it's just plain hard. And the reality is that it's going to be as hard tomorrow as it will be when they're 30.

So sleep tight parents out there and at least know that if you're lying awake tonight with a million thoughts running through your head--you're not alone.

And in the end they'll be okay. They really will.

 Erica xo


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