By Henry Amador
I recently dropped my son of at his grandmothers home for a three day visit.
After saying my goodbyes, giving him big kisses and hugs, honking the car horn for him one last time (he adores car horns) and blowing him one final kiss, I headed towards the highway.
I wasn’t more than half a mile away from him when I felt it.
It began to well up from deep inside and reached the surface like a magnificent oil well, my tears began to flow, my breathing changed and I had no choice but to either sit back in acceptance, or to pull over and completely loose it.
You may be wondering what the feeling was, sadness? Guilt? The ache of already missing my little man?
No, the feeling was a welcomed mix of peace and relief and it came over me like a long awaited hug from a far away friend.
Now I have to admit that saying that out loud is hard for me. I strive to be that perfectly loving and unconditionally present parent. I’m also a tad stuck on appearances and “looking” like I’ve got it all under control, but when my son turned three our world turned upside down, our sweet little boy turned into a nearly unrecognizable, 3T wearing, master of manipulation and torture.
I’m exaggerating.. but only a bit.
My husband is much better than I am at being honest, he has no problem calling it like he see’s it.
“Your letting him get away with too much,
he knows exactly what he’s doing,
he’s just acting ugly,
let him cry,
do not go back into that room.”
And he is right, 100% right but as I try to explain to him, when your the primary care giver your days are a series of these extremely surreal peaks and valleys.
The peaks can be so sweet and full of wonder.
The peaks are where the moments where you feel like your doing it right live.
They are where you feel that confirmation that all is right with the world.
They are where you get a kiss out of the blue or your child say’s something so hysterical or profound that your breath slips away, and you literally say, “he’s a genius!”
And then there are the valleys, those horribly dark and rain-filled valleys where you literally can’t breathe.
That’s where the tantrums erupt and where all logic is blown away.
That’s where the sounds of the screaming, his and mine, drown out the birds chirping and somehow even the sun from shinning.
That’s where you look at that angry little being and wonder to yourself if you can actually survive this.
In the movies this is when the really unequipped dad slams the door on the way to go buy some smokes and never comes back, (no fears, I don’t smoke.)
Those valleys really suck the life force out of you..
for the moment..
and then your out again, climbing to the top with your little ones hand in hand singing the damn hills are alive with the sound of music, until that next valley appears.
I try to let my husband in on my peaks and valleys theory because nothing last forever, there’s no black and white with this parenting gig and what works for me, or us, today can feel totally futile or alien tomorrow. There are moments when I put my hands up, look into those little brown eyes and beg for mercy, “please, take what you want, just don’t kill me, I have a husband and son at home!”
I do spoil him and let him get away with too much.
I probably won’t stop going back in his room at night, especially that one last time when he is finally sleeping and I can look and love without fear of him wanting to get up again, or have to pee again, or need something to drink.
I will also probably not let him cry, not while I can help it.
I will however take heed of my Husbands great sense of self and honesty.
The truth is that some 3 1/2 year olds can be real pain in the asses, and ours is one of them, he may even be their supreme leader, the jury is still out on that one.
Ah, the truth really does set you free, and it feels much like that welcomed mix of peace and relief, thanks hubby!
Photo credit: Rolands Lakis