Next week Wilson turns five, and to be honest, sometimes I forget that we are still in The Tunnel. Long-time readers will remember that this is a phrase, not my own, that refers to the challenge that is parenting children under the age of six. Wilson has grown so much in the last year, physically (seriously, she’s already in the size 6 clothes and on track to be as tall as HD was when he was five) and verbally (thanks to the awesome speech services she’s received from RiteCare here in town), plus she has four big role models to that she copies (for better and for worse), that I can forget how little she still is. And then a morning like this morning comes along and reminds me like a door slammed in my face that we are NOT at the end of this tunnel yet, even though we’ve technically been in it for almost 13.5 years and it seems like we should be through this already, please and thank you.
Admittedly, it’s a rough and weird week. Ben’s been gone for five days which is super out the norm for us even though it did technically happen earlier this year in August as well. But in August we didn’t have school schedules and activity schedules to navigate while he was away, nor did we have the cold germs flirting with half our household which adds a whole extra layer of yuck along with everyone missing him.
This morning wasn’t Wilson’s first meltdown of the week but it was by far the worst (*knocks over a whole forest of trees to keep that statement from biting me in the butt*) and I am sure all of the above listed factors played a role in the struggle. My own stress and sleep deprivation probably didn’t help, but I will mention that I kept my cool for 15-straight minutes of being wailed at (in the form of crying, not fists) and then another 30 minutes of trying to get her to get dressed so she could actually go to school this afternoon, for which she was late for the very first time all year. Her sweet principal met us at the door and helped her off to her classroom and I barely made it back to my car before I lost it.
I cried the whole way back across town because, my goodness, this can be so hard. Even with help (i.e. grandparents on call while Dad is away), the weight of this falls on me and reminds me that we aren’t there yet. The Tunnel still exists, and yes, I know we’re essentially entering a new tunnel of Teenagers once we make it through the Toddler one, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that this shi!t is real and this shi!t is challenging.
And that’s it – that’s all I’ve got. Well, that a reminder that if you know someone parenting an Under Six, send them some love and encouragement because chances are they’ve had a rough moment, if not today than sometime recently, and it never hurts to remind someone that their struggle is real, and so is their love and their effort to keep moving toward the end of that long, dark tunnel.