Day 3: it’s the small things

Today was a terrible day.  This is not an exaggerated description, and there is no way to sugarcoat this either.  It began very early due to the lack of constant sleep from the night before.  My oldest went back to school from Christmas break, which meant that the morning routine was extra painful.  I had a handful of errands that needed to be done today.  I also really needed to get to the gym today, partially because I had not been there in over a week and because I needed to get my frustrations out on a treadmill instead of the pan of brownies my husband did not eat before leaving (willpower prevailed – I threw the brownies away!).  None of these things alone would add up to a terrible day.  It would just be busy, which is great for helping the time pass.

I had not factored in my youngest and her desire to make my life more challenging than necessary.  Addison, also known as Addie or sometimes Damien, is often very sweet, funny, and delightful for others, including her father.  For me, it’s a different story.  I get the sweet side from time to time but mostly, I get the defiant, difficult, and angry side of Addie.  We are already experiencing the classic mother-daughter relationship in which she does the exact opposite of everything I ask her to or expect of her.  The scary thing?  She’s only two years old.  Everyone tells me that this is typical of this age, that I simply lucked out with the excellent behavior of Anya and Lorelei.  Unfortunately, Addie has been challenging from conception, so my outlook is not positive.

She was trouble all day long.  She hit and bullied her sister at the housing office.  She took off her shoes and socks in two places, refusing to put them back on and throwing a temper tantrum at my attempts.  She ran around the post office like a lunatic.  I had to forcefully restrain her into her car seat three times, often stopping on the side of the road to re-buckle it.  She hit and screamed all day long without fail and without fear no matter if I used time-outs, yelling, taking toys away, and even threatening going to bed.  Nothing really works with her – I just try to manage the tornado during the day.

Why am I writing about this?  None of this is out of the ordinary for Addie, and I expected her to test me many times as the time passed without Andy around (sorry for the women’s movement, but the Dad still has a forceful presence).  I’m writing this because when all this is happening, I find myself missing the small things already.  Small things include the chance to run errands when my husband is home or to have him with me for help, maybe even to have him run the errands for me so I do not have to drag the children out.  Small things include the ability to call Andy and rant when Addie throws her shoe at a stranger.  Small things include having a person to take the trash out to the curb, to fix the shelf that still breaks, or to help with bath time – things I know I can do myself but like to have the help with.  Small things…

I often say I do not know how single parents handle everything.  I find myself in that role sporadically and struggle.  I could not imagine doing this full time, which makes me appreciate those doing it on their own and also my husband when he is here.  I suppose we all power through because we know that there is no alternative.  I would love nothing more than to stay in bed and watch marathons of Gilmore Girls and Friends until I am numb.  Those three little people are my reason for continuing on, whether they are happy and silly or just plain demonic.  However, today I thought of what a difference the small things make.  The small things that could help, could comfort, could make life a little easier are just that – they are small things.  I have to remember that even though these would be nice to have, they are only small things.  I can and will persevere through these for the bigger things – Andy, Anya, Lorelei, and Addie/Damien.  🙂


2 thoughts on “Day 3: it’s the small things

  1. Rachel- I, too, had a “Damien” in my second daughter- coincidentally named Rachel! I used to refer to her as my “devil child”, She was challenging all the way through, sounds just like your Addie. The flip side? It was Rachel at 25 who came and spent the week with me after my mother died. Rachel who reminded me to get dressed, when I would have forgotten that during those days of grief. Rachel who pops by my house just to say “hi”. Rachel who, at 28, amazes me and makes me so proud as I watch her juggle working full time, motherhood to 2 rowdy little boys, and finishing her schooling.

    I hope your Addie grows to be the gift that my Rachel is. Sometimes, these difficult daughters are a true blessing-eventually!!!

    1. Wow, that is actually really helpful! Thank you for the response…and what a great name for your daughter! 🙂

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