Today I found myself sitting on the side of the road, with my head in my hands and tears streaming down my face whilst pretending to make a fake call to the police. All the while the hysterical non-compliant child was yelling from my car. My two other children were crying because the non-compliant child was causing them distress and they just really wanted her to put on her seatbelt so we could all go home.
We had just left our local grocery store with me needing to physically restrain my child whilst she hit and kicked me and screamed till I’m sure her throat hurt. Thankfully the owner of that store knows me and I explained that my daughter is adjusting to medication which is trying to control her seizures. She assured me it would be okay and that she was there if I needed her (the most beautiful gesture that gave me the strength I needed for those few moments). She even tried to coax my child out of the store whilst I dumped my groceries, other children and handbag in the car so my hands were free to manage an out of control situation.
This happened to be the day our quiet little country grocery store seemed to all of the sudden fill with people. Somehow they showed me empathy as this awful situation unfolded. Later that day I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and was shocked, so it’s no wonder they felt sorry for me.
Today I realised my cup was empty. There was nothing left. I couldn’t refill it and I wasn’t sure how to change that.
I had probably made every parenting no no under the sun in the 15 mins since this started but I had nothing left.
I called my husband. Twice. No answer. Voicemail. Surprisingly he’s practically in another state working. Again.
I called my Mum. No answer. Voicemail.
I called my friend who lives around the corner. Twice. No answer. Voicemail.
I wanted so much to call Joan but there is no line into Heaven.
As I patiently choked back my tears on the side of the road I asked Joan to help me. I even prayed. For those that know me, you know I don’t really rate the big guy upstairs so I was clearly desperate.
My child was not calming down. I had tried everything but there was no way she was putting a seatbelt on, let alone sitting in her carseat. To get home it’s a 10km drive at 80km/h speeds on country roads. Somehow I managed to get us all home safely.
Some hours later she recovered and I began to breathe a little. But my cup was empty. I couldn’t muster the energy to think what to make for dinner let alone make it and clean up.
I negotiated with God and Joan and my empty cup and decided to take five children out ten pin bowling and for dinner. After a successful game of bowling in which she came second and not last (thank god), an unhealthy meal for dinner which the kids delighted in and 30 mins in a germ-infested indoor playground, I sat and had a cup of coffee.
I called my Mum back, I called my husband back and I felt better.
The children are now all fast asleep and as I sit on the lounge replaying the days events I felt a need to write it down. Not to share a dreadfully tough day and embarrass my child but to show all the parents out there that there is no right way to parent. Especially when life throws a lemon at you and you have NO idea whatsoever to do with it.
We are learning, on the run. A new way of life. Some days are amazing. Amazing creeps into a few days of bliss. Bliss shows you the sunshine peeking through the clouds and you become complacent. Then BOOM!!
Amazing turns into hard. Bliss turns into tough and sunshine turns into a storm. It’s a shock because you weren’t prepared.
Then I remember, if it’s this hard for me, for her siblings, how hard is it for her. My heart breaks and I feel overwhelming guilt for my own feelings of “Poor Little Old Me”. How empty is her cup after hours of exhaustive crying and no understanding of why this is happening to her.
Tomorrow we re-group.
Tomorrow we re-fill.
We take some time and do some things that make her smile, make us all smile. Some Vitamin SEA.
We remember amazing, bliss and sunshine and focus on keeping those clouds away and nurturing ourselves and asking for help when we need it more than we think.
Cheers to filling our cups xxx