I’m a terrible person; harsh, unforgiving, and cruel. With gusto I will kick and stomp when someone is down, and award myself with notions of strength after I’ve accomplished just such a feat. That someone is me.
I’m on the tail end of a fairly nasty nose cold. I catch roughly a quarter of the plagues that befall my home, but when I am part of the befallen, it’s usually some degree of a doozy. I don’t usually whine about being sick, so if I’m actually articulating misery with this type of thing, safe to say it’s probably pretty bad.
The first couple days of my cold were quite mild, so I deceived myself that I would be annoyed for a week, but my life would proceed as planned. Maybe I would be grumpier than usual, but since Warrior Queen was also sick and waking up a bit at night, I probably wouldn’t receive too much blame for an edge in my cadence. But, my colds are never mild. I continued to tell myself I was experiencing a hint of sick even when a truck hit me in the early evening, leaving my eyes leaking tears from exhaustion, a blocked and vaguely pained ear, nausea, and headache. My son woke from his nap, and I had not prepared dinner. I stood at our kitchen counter frozen with slumped shoulders, unable to drape fish in a tray so the oven could do all the heavy lifting. A rational person would say, “Man, I’m seriously sick. Maybe I should sit.” If a friend described the very scenario I was experiencing, I would tell them to sit and let their toddler burn down the house. Hell, if the woman I encountered weeks ago or the person parked next to me at the mall described these events, I’d tell them to sit and grab a beverage…maybe some chocolate.
I berated myself for having to feed my son a serving of our plentiful leftovers. He told me the lentil dish I served him was, “Delicious,” before eating two helpings, by the way, so why was it necessary to mommy guilt myself that the cod would remain in the refrigerator one more day? I feel pretty confident the dead fish wouldn’t be insulted, and I was too sick to taste anything anyway. My son clearly didn’t care, and my husband is always happy that he didn’t have to cook.
I’m proud to say much of the time I accept I’m not perfect…at anything. Most days I even broadcast such news and events to anyone within close proximity. The result is a shared laugh because so many of the trials of parenthood are strangely and wonderfully universal. Having children allows me to welcome my imperfections, and laugh at the ride. I don’t take myself quite so seriously anymore, but this critical piece of me continues to exist, taking full advantage when I am at my weakest. And, she joins forces with my malleable and expansive imagination that possesses no loyalty either way.
After a grueling forty-eight hours of wakefulness, I managed a good night’s sleep. Feeling significantly better and reasonably well rested, my equilibrium is returning. I can laugh at myself again and reflect on my unreasonable chastise of my parenting performance and scrutiny over my general life tenacity. What did I learn? My children and I are at our best when I consider myself as worthy of kindness, attention, and nurturing…and chocolate has magical properties that can never be dismissed or minimized…