I had an entirely different post prepared for tonight. And by prepared, I mean mostly written. But life happened and I felt like jumbling the timeline a little. I will get back to my plan, the order of things that I want to write about, next week. So please excuse my time jump.
Tuesday night I yelled at my kid. Yelled at my frustrated, tired kid. It was 2 am and I was at my rope’s end. I say this as an excuse to myself. A justification. I yelled at my kid. I felt an instant regret that I have never experienced before. I yelled in frustration and immediately saw his soul crush and his face crumble into a wail. I wrapped my whole body around him, cried into his shoulder, and apologized profusely. This tiny person has a limited ability to communicate his needs right now, and unfortunately the primary way is crying. Instead of responding with patience and compassion, I reacted with unguarded frustration. Now does this make me a horrible person? I feel like it. But in reality, it makes me human. I am flawed and I am still learning how to be the better person that my son deserves. But my heart feels like the worst person ever created. I yelled at my son for being tired and in pain. I yelled at my son because I felt inadequate. I took his crying personally. I took it as a sign that I was a bad mother for not being able to suss out the source of his discomfort.
Sometimes he cries and I can’t fix it. He cries and my heart breaks. And Tuesday night, the second night of middle of the night crying, I broke. I allowed in the doubt and the anger. It is nights like that night that make me want to call his father and let him helplessly listen to the cries with me. We didn’t go into this parenting thing on a whim. We went into this adventure with a lot of thought. Two years of discussion. We went into it as a team. At least I thought so. Somewhere over the course of Moose’s first 14 months of life with us, his father decided that this life isn’t what he wants. He decided that he didn’t want to be in my corner and on my team. It broke my heart when he left, seemingly out of nowhere. I have began to put my pieces back together. But these nights…these nights I get angry. Angry for my lack of help. Angry at the false promises of a partner. But more than anything, angry for my son. He deserves two parents that want to be with him all the time. He deserves two parent that do not find it difficult to make him our priority over everything else-even ourselves sometimes. He deserves better than this. Honestly, he deserves better than me. On my own I don’t have a partner to allow me to tap out when I have run out of ideas. So I run through the litany of possibilities of why my son will not stop crying, even when he is in my arms. I start strong. I start confident. I start pragmatically. But the cries wear you down. The exhaustion creeps in. The calculations of how much sleep you will get if he goes to sleep in the next ten minutes are ever-present. Over the course of the four hours that I worked to comfort my son and get him back to bed the failure sets in. It gets into your mind and your bones. It sets in and you yell at your kid because you just have to get the energy out.
By 3:45 am Moose was settled back to sleep and I was able to get two and a half hours of sleep before having to be up to get us both ready for the day. When I lay in bed, relieved, I didn’t think about how I was alone. I didn’t think about how frustrated I was. I didn’t think about resentment. I thought about his face, the instant after my desperate “What” escaped my mouth. I thought about how I felt like I failed him in that moment. I want my son to know that I will always love him and always be his person. Moments like that, moments where I break when all he needs is me, it will crack that foundation for him. Moments like that make me vow to be better. I am ashamed of those moments. But I remind myself, I am human. I hope that when we get up in the morning he will hug me, and he does. I hold onto the moments that I am doing this right.