In all this apparent chaos and frustration, it's always nice when someone looks at you, or writes to you, and tells you that you're doing a great job at life, or sometimes just at parenting.
Sometimes they don't even tell you in words, reactions of people can be just as rewarding.
We all know I've been pulling my hair out and screaming obscenities at the Universe lately. I can't help it when my baby cries in agony for months with no medical relief, or when one or both of them try to stop breathing within days of each other. And lets not even start with the dog... who knew canines were such the drama inducing things they are?
As it is, the dresses turned out to be great-fine-andwhatever. I ended up using the remnant of Kyra's dress to make the baby doll's dress. The tops of the dresses for the girl and the baby were different, but as it turned out, the kid didn't seem to care two shits. She ripped open the paper, casually showed her mother the dress and then pulled a, LOOK MOMMY, A DOLL DRESS!!!!
It was priceless in my mind and was perfect for my bruised ego.
Landing on top of that, this week I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies that were dairy, soy, egg, gluten, corn and nut free for the girls' ice skating class. Apparently it's chock full of needy little food allergy babies. The last day of every session the coaches generously set up a table with juices and cookies for the kids and parents. This session, we came to find out 4 out of the 6 kids have food allergies. And not the same ones.
I was able to accommodate 3 out of the 4 with my cookies. The 4th kid's dad said he was allergic to nuts (among other things he listed that aren't involved in cookies). When I said, Oh, he can have these, I made them without this, this and this... the dad then looked at me and said, He's allergic to coconut. Now, I'm not sure if he classifies this as part of the nut group (it's not) or if he forgot to mention it when I was proclaiming how fantastic coconut oil is in place of butter. Either way, I tried. And 5 out of 6 kids, plus their parents and 2 coaches got to indulge in some yummy goodness.
I was handed two email addresses asking that I forward the recipe along. To which I did. The replies I got back were beautiful.
One ended her with, And thank you for easing my new-skating-mom nerves this session. [My child] and I both appreciate it.
I honestly helped her out once, the first day, when she was a novice at tying skates and then pinched her child's neck with the helmet strap. I watched her flounder, get frustrated and start to pack her bags before I stepped in to help. I talked to her teary eyed tot in my most soothing Mommy Voice. Showed her how to hold on to me while she put her foot in the skate. I spoke gently as I showed the best way to tie the skate. And I managed to gain enough trust from the child that, while she refused her mother's attempts to strap on her helmet, she allowed me.
I told the mother how I made all these same mistakes with Kyra. I told her how it's a right of passage for us mothers to fail miserably with crying children and a captive audience to boot. It just the way this world works.
One kind gesture and eight weeks of chit-chat on the ice-- and she's thanking me. I never thought to sit down and write a thank you to the people who helped me. But when I saw this mother and her daughter struggle the same way I have, I knew it was my turn to pay it forward.
The second reply ended with, You and Jeremy are great parents!
The second one especially touched my heart. It was from one of the girls' coaches. She's watched us, and coached Kyra, for the last two years. She's seen Lydia's tantrums, watched Kyra's flightiness. She's seen me discipline poor behavior, praise the good behavior and refuse to give excuses when the girls don't act or listen respectfully. She's seen, essentially, the good, bad and the occasional ugly.
It's times like these, these tiny, miniscule reminders, that among all our chaos, there is inherently something right in this world. That *I* am doing something right in this world. I am a good parent, a good friend and a good person.
I have my shortcomings, sure. Especially when the world seems to be crashing down around me and I'm hen-pecking my husband to death. But in the end, I'm doing something right.
At least, I hope I am.