Bad days. We all have them. For some of us, it’s as simple as feeling like you’ve gotten out on the wrong side of bed, or your hair won’t go the way you want it to. For others, a bad day can just be yet another disappointing blip in the course of a bad year (or even decade).
Sometimes, though, a bad day really is utterly horrific- a milestone of tragedy and madness which changes your life.
Child rape? Abuse? Death? The relentless news headlines make me want to run for the hills. They hit the Parent Nerve - The one which makes you want to hide your children in a room full of bubble-wrap, emotionally and physically, happily ever after.
At the worst point in my life, I’d been robbed and beaten up in my own home, lost most of my possessions, lost my job AND was dealing with a divorce. I was desolate. You know what other parents said? They said (in a parental chorus) “think about your kids”. I think it was meant as an encouragement, despite:
- Knowing what it is to be driven half-insane by the lack of sleep, and to having to “wake up” and carry on the next day.
- Realising the meal you’ve just tried cooking for your hungry brood has somehow (mysteriously) burnt itself, and you have no other food in the house, or cash to buy any.
- Knowing the fear of pulling a child from a swimming pool - the way your heart gets snap-frozen, before you realise he’s okay.
- Looking at a pile of bills, and thinking, how can I afford bread this week - then getting asked for new soccer boots, or being told that your daughter has mislaid her gym clothes.
- Rushing a kid to the ER in the middle of the night, hoping that the temperature is just a bug, but terrified that there’s more to it. “Meningitis, meningitis, meningitis”, chants your brain.
I’ve done those things.
There are all sorts of major and minor horrors that we face, as parents. Each day, we have to put on our strongest, most in-control faces, even when we can’t feel solid ground under our feet. For the sake of our children.
So, this week, I’ll skip the headlines, full of mayhem, and focus on my kids, just the way you’ve told me to.
I’ll marvel at the way Hannah is making music with her violin
, when only 3 months ago she was sawing at it like a worker ant at a leaf. She’ll be humming and singing her way around the house, in blissful oblivion as usual. I love her singing heart and cheeky grin.
I’ll pause for a minute from asking James to throw away his growing mountain of tissues, and just appreciate the way he’s becoming a polite, sensitive intelligent almost-teen, with an odd affinity for socks - he likes to wear them for one day more than he should!
And I won’t forget Jonah, my youngest. That kid is so awesome. He has to hold his own with his older siblings, and claim every inch of turf he can get. His deep brown eyes and tenacity melt my heart. When he gets knocked down, he’s back up within seconds, without tears.
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