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Monday, September 28, 2009

Vite, Vite, Allons-y!


That’s the sound of me exhaling. The sound of a long, exhausted sigh.

Today was one of those days where I question my parenting decisions and abilities. I don’t say that in an attempt to solicit gold star stickers or a chorus of, “You’re a great mom, Chrystie!”s. It’s just honesty.

I am feeling overwhelmed. My brain is mushed by chaos and the result is a feeling of instability and a wobbly heart. I can’t help but wonder if Ellie is feeling it too. Or, at the very least, feeling that unsettling “Mommy’s tired” tingle.

Pre-2005, when I knew EVERYTHING about parenting, I vowed that I would not be one of *those* parents. You know, the kind who spend their entire day carting their kids around to one activity or another. The kind that over-schedule their young ‘uns and come across as chickens with their heads cut off.

HA! I am the runaway (Rabbit?) chicken!

This new schedule is killin’ me. A glimpse at our week:

Monday morning: Daycare
Monday afternoon: Preschool
Tuesday morning: Therapy
Tuesday afternoon: Daycare
Wednesday morning: Daycare
Wednesday afternoon: Preschool
Thursday morning: Therapy
Thursday afternoon: Grandma’s
Friday morning: Speech Therapy
Friday afternoon: Often a doctor’s appointment or therapy at Children’s Hospital.

Keep in mind, of course, that all therapy appointments require at least an hour drive one-way. Today, during my “half-hour” lunch break, I had to pick up Ellie from daycare, then drop her off at pre-school. All the while trying to not spill my tuna salad in the car, while I feverishly ate.

And the one thing that Ellie does NOT do is hurry.

While the other parents are encouraging their 4-year-olds to “run into school” so they won’t be late, I am wiping the sweat off my brow as I wait for my daughter to take very slow, carefully maneuvered steps. Ellie can’t be hurried. Oh, she can be encouraged to avoid distraction, but she walks at her own pace. Because she’s WALKING, regardless of speed, I am thankful. INCREDIBLY THANKFUL. But also stressed.

Everything feels so rushed, chauffeuring Ellie from one place to another, and then, just when we’re going to be late for school or an appointment or another therapy session; just when every fiber of my being wants to run and hurry, I have to stop and wait. Wait for Ellie to walk up a ramp. Wait for Ellie to rest her legs when she’s tired. Wait for Ellie to learn how to steer her walker. WAIT.

While a part of me cherishes the patience that Ellie has forced me to acquire, I am also frustrated. Not at sweet Ellie. At myself.

Why can’t I just be okay with being a few minutes late sometimes? Why do I feel so responsible when I take 5 extra minutes on my lunch break? Why do I feel like everyone is annoyed when they have to wait for Ellie to make her way through a doorway and they’re unable to squeeze by her? Why can’t I just savor? Savor the fact that my daughter is walking. Savor the fact that while she’s walking, she’s asking me a hundred questions (“Who’s walking in the door with me, Mommy? Am I going to school? Who am I going to see today? Are my friends going to be at school?”). Savor her beauty.

I’m not sure what the answer to the scheduling problem is. Every place we cart Ellie to and from is important. Therapy is a no-brainer. ALL of our therapists highly recommended starting Ellie in pre-school this year. My employment is kind of important, especially since aforementioned therapy and preschool aren’t free. What gives?

I am hoping and praying that today was just a bad day and that part of my frustration comes from the newness of this schedule. As we settle into the new routine, we’ll all feel less overwhelmed and more grounded.

For tonight, though, I take comfort in the goodness that is the Cowboys on Monday Night Football. Go Boys!


Jennifer said...

Hang in there, babe! You ARE a fabulous mom and honestly, I don't know how you do it. I am inspired by you! Everything new takes getting used to. Pretty soon it'll just be second nature...and then it will change to kindergarten instead. Always something! HA HA!

Mary Ellen said...

Ok so HOW did you fly down from Canada crawl inside my head and read my thoughts for a week. Because that is the only way you could have typed exactly my frustrations of these past few weeks. I am trying to just step back breath and just let it all go.

You ARE a good mommy. That routine is proof enough :-)