The Rut

Just after my dad died, I was out for a smoke and started walking a sort of labyrinth pattern into the snow, making a path in a spiral and back out through the center again. I walked it over and over and ended up taking a shovel and digging it deep into the snow, and it became a place for my daughter to run around and play. But I would pace around it when I went out for smokes by myself all the time.

We made it outside today! After being reminded by a few people, I finally remembered to actually make use of my wrap and the baby slept while I was wearing her, when I couldn’t have otherwise put her down… Derp. So she stayed sleeping while I helped the girls get dressed and took them outside. And while we walked a circle into the snow, and started pushing the snow around to shape the beginning of walls because they wanted to make a snow fort.

She stayed sleeping while we came inside, while I made them lunch and cleaned up lots of our main living area. I got so much done!

We had a lot of company today. My mom came to visit, and some friends with their kids. The girls got so much attention and got to play, and I got to catch up a bit and have some company, and someone around to hold the baby and help her stay sleeping.

It was a little hectic but so nice, and most of the mess we made was clean (cleaned by my friends son mostly!) by the time everyone left.

But as soon as everyone had gone, and the sun began to set, it was mayhem all over again, just like last night. I guess I expected it this time, but I didn’t handle it very well.

My baby started fussing instead of just nursing and sleeping, and my toddler dumped all of our vanilla extract out on the counter.

Then she spilled yogurt drink all over herself, then after I cleaned her up she spilled more on the couch and on the floor.

And after I had cleaned that up (while the fussy baby is crying, waiting for me) my toddler wandered off without her pull up since she’d slipped it off with her yogurt splattered pants.

She snatched a toy from her big sister enough times that my oldest freaked out so much that she hit herself in the head with a little mirror somehow. And shrieked in my ear, while the baby was still fussing.

And a little while later the toddler came back to let me know that she pooped in the other room.

So again, I had to leave the fussy baby crying out to clean her up. And there were bits of poop across the floor. I yelled at her to not clean it up herself, multiple times, because I didn’t feel like I could get to it and she kept trying to go towards it with some wipes… Ugh.

So somehow after all of that we all managed to calm down. I didn’t manage to get supper started, but the poop got cleaned up, and I picked up all the clothes we’d been looking through earlier.

We had a sort of lazy supper when Drew got home and took the girls outside a bit longer afterwards, so at least we all got some air and they got a bit more exercise and space to play.

Bedtime is late again here but the girls helped us clean up toys and things this evening and they’ve been quiet and calm as they settled down.

I’m thinking about help, feeling provided for. Part of me still feels like I should be doing more now, exchanging directly, giving more back. But I am so grateful to everyone that listens to me, reassures me, everyone who has brought me things, taken me places, come over and tried to help me manage the house, and sent needful things from afar.

It feels nice to know so much is taken care of when I can’t stay on top of everything myself, or between Drew and I. It still feels strange though, lots of questions of deserving are coming up for me. I feel pretty loved anyway… I still feel anxious and get mad at times, sunset especially apparently, but I feel like I can actually enjoy our little family and the people we know and love more again. I don’t feel so stuck in my ruts.

Faeries and Monsters

I used to believe in faeries. At least, I think I did. I know I wanted to.

I haven’t told my daughters that faeries are real, yet. I don’t want them to think that the monsters they imagine are real, too. Like I used to.

I remember hearing tales of pixies in the tree leaves, and of hell hounds in the forest at night.

I spent a lot of time dreaming, playing, enjoying, but I remember a lot of time spent worrying and wondering, too.

And some things don’t really change. Maybe they concentrate with age. I see a lot of fear in myself, still.

And I haven’t been believing quite so much, and I haven’t been playing quite enough.

I’ve been worrying and wondering about the monsters.

About the ache in the space where I used to be connected to my magical family tree.

About the time with them I missed that left me hardening my shell for the sake of survival.

About the anger that rises up inside of me when I don’t feel like I have everything figured out and running predictably.

About the fear of not measuring up and the difficulty in admitting that by asking for support.

And mostly, so often, I am worrying and wondering about my kids.

Why they are suddenly whiny, why they are annoying each other, why they can’t just share, why my oldest panics when things don’t go her way, why my youngest can’t just leave some things alone, why they both want my attention when I seem least able to give it, why they drag their feet getting ready, why they run away when I try to talk to them….

And I think, well, it must be that I have left the TV on a little too much, and I condemn myself a little.

It must be because this place is so cluttered, they can’t relax, and I feel frustrated with my inability to get on top of the never-ending mess.

I think, it must be because of all that junk food, maybe I should have made lunch a little earlier, they haven’t been eating enough greens… and I wish I had more talent and passion for food, that I could prioritize it.

It must be because they lack consistency, they went to bed too late, and I struggle to force us into a rhythm only to fall back out, again and again and again…

And when I blame the TV, I turn it off suddenly and in anger, in a great big huff.

And when I blame the mess, I rant angrily about how they have contributed to it, how they can’t seem to help enough.

And no matter what external condition I try to point the finger at, my discomfort is coming from deep inside. A pile of crumbs, a junk food lunch, those are not monsters. And what I am really lashing out at when I try to fight those things is my kids. And they are not monsters…

It’s been really hard grieving and doing this healing work while being a mother to young children.

And I catch myself feeling like I need to work so hard, strain, live up to these expectations to insulate us from harm, from fear, from uncertainty.

But the monsters still come.

The only thing making my kids act out is me. My disconnection, my anger, my impatience. My monsters.

And they don’t really need a beautifully orchestrated daily rhythm, the greatest of all foods made from scratch all the time, a tidy minimalist sanctuary, or a world completely free from media to feel content and happy.

They need me. They need me to be present with them. To accept them, to accept their feelings. To accept the ways that they show me what they need, however messy. To care for them. To stand firm in the centre of the bad days and bad feelings, and to play and to laugh with them, without fear.

My children need me to show them all about the faeries.

And I need for my children to help me remember that they exist.