Sunday, May 6, 2012

Moment of Zen

The other morning I officially hit a new parenting low when I literally promised my daughter gold at 5AM if she would just be quiet. Whatever. It didn't even work. And in this moment I was particularly struck by two universal truths about parenting: 1) anything you say at crazy hours of the night and early morning can never be held against you by your spouse or children during regular human hours, and 2), you must accept that which you cannot control.

On this particular morning, Ruby woke up for THE DAY at 4:55AM (anything before 6AM in my book is completely unacceptable) and did so by singing the ABC’s at the top of her lungs. Which would have been annoying but manageable had she not put the fear of G-d in me that she would also wake her brother before 6AM, a completely unmanageable situation requiring a 4:30pm bedtime for the entire family. I was literally pleading with her 2 year old mind for silence as she stared at me with her large and completely blank eyeballs and began to belt out her next number. Sigh – fail.

I was shaking with sheer terror at the thought of Dylan waking up at this time of day and trudging through the rest of his hours in a painstakingly fatigued state. A similar scene had played out last month when we had all shared a hotel room together on a family vacation, which, if you’ve ever shared a hotel room with your small children on vacation you know there is nothing fun, relaxing or vacation-esque about it. With each tiny sigh or snore that came out of their little bodies pre-dawn, I lay in terror at the thought of someone waking up, screaming and starting all of our days like that at 4:30AM. Suddenly, my husband passed gas and I shot him the look of death, thinking “how dare you nearly wake our children?!” And then I realized that I almost just threatened to divorce my husband because he passed gas which he should totally be allowed to do in the privacy of his hotel room on vacation and that, by the way, I was not sleeping at all on my own vacation but instead lying awake watching the seconds tick by trying to micromanage every second of every one’s life including my husband’s gastrointestinal distress, and my children’s sleep patterns– which is utterly and completely ridiculous.

Because I am never in control – they are and even knowing this, I still begin each day swimming against the tide, believing I can change the outcome. Until I hit a wall and become completely peaceful. It is the moment when I realize that I must accept that which I cannot control. These tiny humans are in complete control of my life and whatever the plan is, you can bet I’m just following their lead.  If even for a moment I can find peace with this concept, than I’ve found my moment of Zen. And the reality is that maybe if can let myself truly relax and let things unfold as they are supposed to or are going to no matter what, then maybe I’ll even be able to enjoy my vacation, or our life without the constant worrying. And it won’t be a perfectly napped, planned day – it will be its usual blend of thinly veiled chaos: perfect disorganization. Which is really what life is supposed to be after all, isn’t it? At least life with children J

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