The word “life” on this chalkboard could be exchanged with “parenting”. Despite now being a mama to three, I know now that I will never truly “know” how to parent “successfully”. I naively thought that with time, I would have more confidence with every “move”, but as the kiddos grow, I’ve found the problems, questions and squabbles become bigger and harder to navigate. Yesterday, my Lucy had a tough day at a birthday party. In other words, she had two extremely loud, alligator tear meltdowns that fell somewhere between the nature talk, game of tag and cake and ice cream. It left some concerned parents looking at me, asking “is she ok?” I smiled back politely, shook my head and muttered something about how she must be “having a moment” but really angrily thinking to myself: “don’t their three year olds do this?? And if not, what am I doing wrong?”
As we leave the party and walk to the car, Lucy has managed to calm down. I squeeze her hand and ask why she had been so upset. I should have known what the answer would be – because it’s become a common theme in our household. She looks down at her shoes, kicks some pebbles and says, “I wanted my dada to come to the party”. Sigh. If I closed my eyes and concentrated hard enough, I think I could have actually felt my heart breaking inside of my chest. Another moment that doesn’t come equipped with a parent handbook.
As we get into the car and drive away, I tell Lucy that she’s old enough now to hear what I’m about to say. I tell her that I love her so much – just as much as dada – that I had been looking forward to this one to one time with my special girl for a week and that what she said made me sad. She cries. I feel my tears well up underneath my sunglasses as we drive away. Checkmate. Tomorrow’s a new day.