Parental Lessons on Life

Miss M in full on angry mode!

Miss M in full on angry mode!

Parenting is one of the most difficult endeavors I have ever taken on.  Nothing tests your patience more than an angry, screaming child.

Since returning from my most recent trip to NY this week Miss M has been a hot angry mess.  I’m guessing the timing of these two events is not a coincidence.  My continued absence this week for medical appointments has Miss M clinging to me real tight and doing a lot of screaming.

Fortunately, we are having great success with Miss M’s new social worker therapist.  Miss M is opening up more and more each time.  She is sharing her anger and fears about mommy’s cancer.  Using little stuffed animals to work through her frustrations.  Asking questions.  Expressing her opinions.  The sessions are informative and reassuring for me too.  I’m receiving confirmation to do what I know is best for Miss M.  I’m learning new parenting tools, receiving support in my struggle to be a good parent through cancer, and understanding more and more about what’s going on in Miss M’s precious little head.

The picture of Miss M above was taken yesterday.  It was “one of those days”…  We had plans to go see the Dayton Ballet perform the Nutcracker…  But things did not go quite according to plan.

First there was her hysterical fit about putting on her shoes &  jacket…  Which led to us being late for the ballet…  Which forced us to sit in the “late” seats all the way in the back until intermission when they would allow us to sit in the seats we paid for…  Of course Miss M couldn’t see from these new “late” seats and made her frustration known…  Which led us out of the theatre…  Where she ended up in a pile on the floor, endlessly screaming and crying (much to everyone else’s horror and amusement)…  Finally, we decided to just go home…

What I had hoped and expected to be a beautiful festive family day, ended up being a day from hell.  And I couldn’t seem to shake the bad energy off me.  I carried it with me the rest of the day.

Then last night, watching an episode of Up All Night that I had DVR’ed finally gave me some perspective.  Reminded me that days like this do happen.  Life does not always go according to plan.  Finding the humour in these moments is key.  Laugh.  Recognize the futility of expectations.  Remember that we do not have control.  Take a deep breath and just go with the flow and let life unfold.

And always remember that tomorrow is a new day.

So today I consciously made an effort to start fresh.  I sipped my morning coffee from my favourite “Serenity” mug (the same one my mom used to drink from each morning)…  I met Miss M where she was at (a valuable skill I learned in social work school) instead of imposing my own expectations or preferences on her…  I paid attention to her…  We laughed and played together…  And aside from one minor incident over some M&M’s this morning we’ve had a pretty awesome day so far.

I realize every day offers an opportunity to start fresh.  To let go of the past and welcome each new moment.  Do things differently.  Make better choices.

It’s been one year since I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.  I am so grateful to still be here.  To be feeling well.  To have the opportunity to celebrate another holiday season with those I love.  To live another day.

Wishing everyone a fantastic holiday – filled with serenity, beauty, love…  And fresh starts :-)

Peace.  – T

IMG_4608IMG_5189

10 Responses

  1. What a beautiful gift to receive this post when I arrived home.

    Yes, our children are our greatest teachers. Sound familiar? It’s what your mother always said about you…

    So embrace this “new beginning” of a day. And while you’re at it, give your self a humungous pat on the back- you are one of the most phenomenal, enlightened and loving parents I have ever had the privilege of knowing.

    Merry Christmas my loves, Auntie Laurie

  2. Hey, funny thing, I had the same day yesterday and I acted pretty much exactly like Miss M! Seriously, you are doing an amazing job in very difficult circumstances. I’m so impressed. Wishing you and your crew a very fabulous holiday season and looking forward to hearing your adventures in 2013. xoxo Stevie

  3. Wonderful post! Well done. This season can strain anyone to the far edge – even those of us without children! Very heartening recovery :-). Merry Christmas, and may your new year bring far better health and continued hope, and many more adventures with your beloved Marisa and Heron!

  4. Thank you for this Christmas present. Post made me smile and cry and remember the toddler days I survived — without serious illness, so I double-plus admire and respect the work you’re doing there. Keep on keeping on, ma’am … you’re doing a fabulous job. Merry Christmas!

  5. If it makes you feel better, what she is going through is totally normal for her age…even down to the ruining family fun days. Kids are stronger than we think, able to take on more than we give them credit for and like I’ve said before…will either do it with or without us. The key really is keeping your cool and carrying on, if you can…and in another way if you must, but it truly is a learning experience that every parent constantly goes through. I know I do!

    Sometimes you have to impose expectations or just plain ignore your little ones behavior. That’s life, sometimes. As much as we’d like to give our children a beautiful, idealistic childhood-it wouldn’t truly benefit them. Miss M is going to see your struggles and victories and will grow to be able to better handle what is an often cruel and unfair adult life because of the love you gave her during all of this, and how you shared it with her. We all realize at some point, I think, that we can’t protect our kids from anything…even ourselves…and it hurts but it doesn’t mean we have to feel guilty about our jobs as parents. You are not always going to be able to heal what ails her and separating yourself from the situation physically (and for mothers, that often means emotionally too) can help gain that perspective without the guilt. There was this movie about Ray Charles where he threw a tantrum after going blind for his mother to help him, and she stood there silently. Through tears, she watched him gain his own perspective on his own situation. She couldn’t understand it, but she knew she had to let him tough it out. I think it was Ray Charles. Anyway…

    And you are so very right about laughter. How can you raise a kid without laughter? That bad energy, I think, is often a result of what other peoples expectations are of our children and how we have failed those. And as much as I’d like to say my kids always behave….hahahahaha.

  6. I remember those days! I was talking to Chrissy today about when she was a toddler. I think God makes them so adorable to offset those terrible twos and threes momments. It’s great you have a social worker to help you through. We had a counselor too and read a great book called Parenting the Strong-willed Child. Great exercises to do that worked for us. Sounds like you’ve got it covered. Stay well my friend!

Leave a Reply