This week has dealt me a couple of challenging situations – and I’ve had to make a conscious effort to push my feelings to the side and put my kids first. It hasn’t been easy.
I was sitting in the waiting room before Jordan’s Maternal and Child Health Nurse appointment when I spotted a beastie up on the ceiling. A big, hairy, eight-legged beastie. I am so phobic that I can’t even stand to think the word, let alone speak or write it. Amelia was playing with the toys in the room, completely oblivious to the horror lurking above her. And that’s how I wanted it to stay. While I sat there feeling sick to my stomach and fighting the urge to cry, I thought about my sweet, innocent toddler who has yet to form opinions on whether spiders are harmless or scary, and the responsibility I hold in shaping those opinions. Inasmuch as I could help it, I couldn’t let her know how much I was freaking out or why. My voice was coming out weird and I was distracted as anything, but I forced myself to smile and respond to her as she showed me different toys.
It was only the next day when something awful happened at home. We forgot to lock up the chicken coop. Foxes got in and we lost four chickens – including my favourite hen, a gal I called Plucky due to her forthright nature. She was a friendly chook who followed me around the yard, always looking for treats. I was quite devastated. Sitting on the couch that morning, feeding Jordan, hearing the subdued chirps from the remaining chooks outside, I felt miserable. But as with the previous day, I had to work to try not to let Milly know. I certainly couldn’t tell her what had happened, and she was in such a good mood that morning that I didn’t want to throw a wet towel on that with my own misery.
Life is full of challenges, but as parents we have a duty to think of our children first and choose our responses accordingly. My instincts told me to run from that spider, to cry, maybe scream – but as a parent, I couldn’t let fear get the better of me, and affect my child. Likewise, I chose to shield her from my sorrow, rather than let it weigh on her when she could remain happily oblivious.
One thing these experiences does is show you just what you’re made of. Every parent has stories like these, of finding the strength to overcome challenges for the sake of their child. You do things you never thought you could do. You grow as a person, developing character and fortitude. So while it’s hard at the time, it’s also wonderful – these little people bring out the best in you, just by being there.