So I have a thing lately, and that thing is that I set my daughter off. There’s actually no other way to explain it; that’s exactly what it is. My daughter—my light, my soul, my inspiration—literally loses her shit when she sees me. She tantrums and gets angry and even though she might have been great about going potty all day, she’s suddenly peeing all over the floor in my presence. The other day she came home from daycare, and after doing a great job of vocalizing her needs all day (i.e. pee-pee, yogurt, booky—all the essentials) she saw me, smiled, ran to me for a hug, and proceeded to flail wildly, burst out crying, and pee all over my shoes.
Logical mind: Relax—she’s 19 months old; this is totally normal. Plus, you’re the mum; she’s showing how safe she feels that she can let go in your presence and no matter what you’ll be there with a cuddle and reminder that her she is SAFE and LOVED. Get over yourself, just follow her lead and let her be.
Emotional mind: WTF did I do?
This ongoing battle between logical and emotional is, I assume, at the core of all parenting because you need both, even if they aren’t in consultation with each other. It is perhaps because they aren’t that you have to really just trust the other lone voice whispering in the background called instinct, which chooses to go unnaturally quiet at times when I wouldn’t mind it shouting.
Instinct: This is your second kid; you’ve been here, you’ve done this, just ride the wave, and this too shall pass. You’ll all be stronger for it.
Thanks, instinct. Really helpful. Come see me when you’ve got something useful to say.
Thing is, it’s all right and it’s all wrong and it’s all just hard. And I’m tired, stressed about work, and emotionally exhausted from just having put my own mother in a care facility. So at what point do I bundle this motley crew of thoughts together and just say, “Look, team, I’d really like a little help and clarity and some basic IKEA manual instructions, because this ongoing chatter is wasting what little time I have to deal with this.”
And then it hits me. It’s all about time.
We just recently read about time in Ecclesiastes—the idea that “to everything there is a season, and a purpose under heaven.” But that’s not the line that struck me. It was much later in the passage where it says, “God has made everything beautiful in its time; also God set the world in their (humanity’s) heart, yet so that humans cannot find out the work that God has done from the beginning even to the end.”
What’s happening right now with my determined, stubborn, independent little nugget is not for me to understand, nor is it for me to determine as a period of time, i.e. this is potty training week, or she’s teething, or I’m just stressed out about the first day of school.
I can’t put a timeframe on any of this. Or even label it. I just merely need to do and be. It’s what I signed up for, and what I am committed to, every single second for the rest of my days. It’s what it means to become a parent, and neither the different voices in my head nor Rabbinic quotations are necessarily able to explain it fully, but they do help me rationalize it, add some sense, help me find the beauty, and lead me towards acceptance of the things over which I’m just not supposed to have control.
Once again, baby girl, you have taught me more about myself than I’d ever thought possible. And given me a reason to buy a new pair of Toms. Thank you.