Photo and mug by the very talented Bethany.
Yesterday, Anya woke up with a fever. Considering the Mister left a few nights before for a six day gig and it was the day of my final exam for the class I've been taking, it was... not good. I called up my mom, explained the situation and then said, "I don't know what to do. How do I do this? I can't do this!" She, having spent many a year single parenting, knew exactly how to fix this.
"You will bring her to me. You will go to class. You will take your final exam. Everything will be OK."
Or something like that. The point was, she fixed it.
So I told Anya what the plan was and she instantly went into meltdown mode. She did not want Grandma, she wanted MAMA and nothing else would do. Lily walked in on the meltdown and I instructed her to please get ready for school. "Find some breakfast, baby." And she bolted for the kitchen while I rocked a sobbing, fevered child. Have you ever tried to talk an unreasonable little person out of throwing a fit? It is not what one would call a "good idea". But I tried. And after a while, the enormity of everything slammed down on me and I realized that there was no way out of this moment unless something big happened. What could possibly work? And then, I found my answer, quite by accident.
I burst into tears. Big, sobbing, ugly, choking tears. The kind of tears that makes sane people look away and whisper, "Bless". I told Anya, through gulped words, that I was so sorry. That I wanted to be with her too. That I didn't know what to do.
Anya became very quiet. "Mama." She whispered.
"Yes?" I sobbed.
"I'm going to pack some things for Grandma's house."
Later, when recounting this to my Mister over the phone I confessed, "I think I broke her little psyche."
"NO!" He practically shouted. "You showed her that some things are bigger than her. You showed her that sometimes you need help, too. You showed her honesty. She snapped out of it, because you put things into perspective."
Or something like that. The point was, he fixed it.
And Lily fixed it, too. When I got into the house after this breakdown I found that she had eaten a bowl of cereal, had made herself a list with little check boxes that read:
* Main thing
And she was carefully cutting up a carrot with a very sharp knife for her "vegdable". She had found the mango I'd cut up for her the day before and checked off the word "Froote". She was getting out what was needed for a peanut butter & honey sandwich and was chattering away about how all she needed now was to figure out her "snak". Later I watched from a doorway while she leaned down and tenderly kissed her sister's forehead and then made her a little coloring kit to take to Grandma's. Best of all, she was thrilled when I suggested that I drop her off, rather than walk her onto campus. "YES! I've been waiting for this!"
Where did Little Miss Totally Independent come from?
No matter, it's a beautiful thing.
The rest of the day showed me more examples of how well I am loved:
- When I called a friend about making sure the school chickens got fed, she couldn't do it but took on the task of making sure she found someone who could.
- My mom made me breakfast when I arrived to drop off Anya and then took care of my sick girl all day.
- When I arrived for class, the teacher told me to go home if I needed to take care of my kid, that I could make up the class and do the text next week if I needed to. "Family comes first" he insisted.
- Another friend picked Lily up from school and held onto her until I could come get her after my class.
- And at the end of the day, I enjoyed homemade cookies and tea in a mug made by Bethany.
Considering that I haven't done anything remotely baby-bookish, I'm grateful for this blog (despite the fact that it's not so active anymore). I can put this down and be able to show Lily later, "See this? This was the day you grew up a little more. This was the day that you made it better." And I can be reminded how awesome my life really is, especially when I finally ask for help.