Parenting is absolutely fraught with situations that make you feel like shit. At least for me. It's often a result of completely underestimating my girls, which, I'll be honest, happens more frequently than I'd like because they are amazing.
It's like when you come to check in after you've asked them to clean up their mess, loaded for bear, expecting the same if not worse mess, and the place is spotless. Or, after playgroup, you are braced to hear, "Rosie didn't share" and what you get instead is, "For a child who doesn't have a huge vocabulary yet, she is the most polite little girl I have ever met. 'Please, Thank You, and You're Welcome' for everything!" Or the way I lost sleep worrying about their first dentist appointments, thinking they'd scream their heads off and not even make it through the teeth counting part. Instead, they had their teeth counted, scraped, brushed, examined, and flouride. The WHOLE exam. The hygenist said she'd never seen such cooperative kids on their first visit. I underestimated them.
Today was a gorgeous day in the town where I live. There's a new coffee shop that opened, and a couple of boutiquey style stores that I've been wanting to visit. It sounded like a great idea to get out with the girls. First stop, Kickstand Cafe for a cup of coffee. You'd think I fed both girls a double shot of espresso given the way they were behaving. Ripping up napkins, climbing on the chairs. Since the place just opened today, they just have masking tape with the artists' names on the walls under the artwork. I turned away for one second and Rosie decided she could re-arrange things, crediting the wrong artist to the wrong picture. We had to leave.
Silly me, I decided that we could still try going into those two stores I've only walked by 500 times. They are less than a block apart, so when Emmie said, "Double stroller?" I cringed at the thought of lugging out the cumbersome thing and said, "No, let's walk!" Mistake, mistake, mistake. In store #1 they were not corralled and couldn't keep their hands off of any of the lovely and breakable items. We had to leave. On the short walk to the next store (I know, I know...how dumb can I be?), Emmie lost her shoe, Rosie did a faceplant, they both fought about having to hold hands. We got to store #2 and turned around, just to repeat the miserable walk again, this time crying. That's when I thought to myself, "This is the opposite of fun. One coffee shop and two stores and a 100 ft walk and all of this drama! I'm not having fun." And, I figured that neither were they. They had been reprimanded, counted, removed from places, and were now in tears.
We got in the car, my head pounding. Emmie asked if we could listen to music to which I responded, "No, I need quiet time" and we silently drove towards home. That's when Emmie said, "Mama, I had so much fun going out today!" After righting the car from practically going off the road, I asked why. Emmie said, "Because I love being with you and Roe-rie."
I underestimated them. Even when they can't rearrange an art display or play with glass baubles, even when they get scolded and removed and put into a silent car with a stressed out Mama, they have fun. Just being together. And, so for the millionth time this week, the girls made me feel like shit. Not because of how difficult they are, but because of how wonderful they are.
So, now it's off to the playground. Nothing to break or spill. Just to have fun being together. Because two years ago, I would have given anything to have fun with these girls.
The girls rockin' their first dentist appointment...