Color me grateful

            It has been kind of rough around these parts with Zachary lately.  He was practicing Delightfulness for months, and we were starting to think we could get used to having a three-year-old around.  But, because we have big mouths and could not stop ourselves, we started talking about the move in front of him, and now he is a big ball of anxiety.  Now, no matter how much I explain that we will not move for awhile and he will have friends in his new school, he ain’t buying.

            Sometimes, he voices his concerns directly.  “I don’t want to move.  I want to be here for Halloween so I can go trick-or-treating with Caspar.”  Or, shockingly, “I don’t want to leave Timmy.”  (Dude, I have no problem leaving Timmy.)  I cuddle him and explain we will all be there with him.  I read him The Berenstain Bears’ Moving Day constantly.  I know how to deal with direct concerns.

            Most of the time, however, Zach uses a time-tested technique to express his discontent.  He whines.  Sometimes, he screams and cries.

            Now, I know I am lucky to have a three-year-old who can and will ever tell me the exact source of his feelings.  I know that obnoxiousness is par for the course with an anxious pre-schooler.  I just wish he weren’t so darned good at it.

            So it was that one morning last week, waking up to find his father still traveling and me still working and the world not spinning at exactly the speed he would like, Zach was in a fragile mood.  As I took him to the bathroom, before getting Benjamin out of his crib, I found myself already saying to Zach, “If you are too tired not to whine, I will put you back into bed.”  He stopped and we went back into the boys’ bedroom.  And I opened the blinds.  Zach likes to help open the blinds.  And I callously opened them on my own because, contrary to popular opinion, I am imperfect and sometimes I cannot keep the entire script of the World According to Zachary in my head.

            Zach let out a moanscream and started with the hysteria, screamcrying and running over in protest.  I picked him up, dropped him back onto his bed, lifted Ben out of his crib, and left, shutting the door behind me.  I changed Ben’s diaper and took him down to breakfast.  Three minutes later, I heard a whimpering at the top of the stairs.  “Mommy?  I am ready.”  A slightly shaken but otherwise composed three-year-old joined us at the table.

            What is my point in all of this, other than that only morons talk about a move more than three weeks beforehand to a small child?  My point, and it is a significant one, is that nine months ago I would have yelled at him.  Or, I would have let him get his way without first composing himself.  Or, I would have fumed on about it for twenty minutes.

            Whatever I would have done, I would definitely have spent the entire day feeling like my childhood had predisposed me to be an inadequate mother.  I would have been sure that most of the problem had been manufactured by me.  My insecurity would have fueled me to either be too stern or too lax as the day wore on.  By nighttime, Zach would have been confused, I would have been frustrated, and we both would have been exhausted.

            But, for the last nine months, I have been writing.  Writing here.  And you have been responding, telling me that sometimes even parents who had lovely childhoods get frustrated.  You have been reassuring me that much of what I feel has nothing to do with twenty-five years ago and everything to do with twenty-five seconds ago.  You have helped me regain confidence as a wife, a writer, a mother, and a person.

            So, when Amy awarded me this…


…I was floored.  The fact is, I feel like I give so much less than I take here in the blogosphere.  I am grateful to each and every one of you for the hand you have held out to me as I have walked these miles.  And, so, while I pass it on to a few of you, please know that each and every one of you deserves it more than I could possibly find words to say.  Without further ado, six people who have left poignant comments, sent supportive emails, and basically been there every freaking step of the way:

Bub and Pie


Painted Maypole


Lawyer Mama


Honestly, it was almost impossible to break it down to this group, but I know if I list too many, no one will click over.  I hope that some of you will click over to the blogs of these amazing women and become friends with them, because they have so very much to offer.

            Thank you all.

24 responses to “Color me grateful

  1. Do we live in the same house or what??? Sometimes when you describe little, “Zachary,” you could just as well be describing my own, “little monster.”

    Great job on another well deserved award . . .

    And for the first time ever . . .I am your first “commenter,” of the day . . .

    We can both thank the baby for waking me up at 4 am.! 🙂

    I’ve only been blogging for about 3 months, but I can’t help but wonder, what I would now do without blogging . . .and coffee, of course???

  2. Emily! Thank you, friend!! Here it is a Sunday morning, and I haven’t even brushed my teeth yet. My hair is a fright! I probably smell even! Who gets to accept an award this way? I love the internet. And I love reading you too…otherwise, I wouldn’t be around every freakin’ step of the way. Because you give ME so much, and I know I’m not alone with those thoughts.

  3. I am right there with you. It is a daily struggle for me to find an appropriate way to handle my boys’ outbursts, whines, cries, fights, and fits. It is exhausting. I always want to be the comforter, the calmer, and sturdy influence, but that is certainly not always the case. Sometimes I act like a 2 year old right along with them and end up feeling like a dolt for the rest of the day.
    Sounds like you’ve been doing a great job! Keep going!
    And congrats on your well deserved award!

  4. Well congratulations to your winners and congratulations to you too.

    I personally find blogging extremely therapeutic, the act of writing things down make them all the more clearer to me.

    And you’re right, all parents struggle with their children, nobody’s perfect and we can all learn from each other and be supportive.

  5. What a wonderful group of women you’ve listed.

    And — I’m so glad to hear about the confidence. Though I’d always bet on you.


  6. i love the women in our community here, they are all so lovely.

    and three. i so know about this. you are doing a good job, mama.

  7. Ah, Emily. Congratulations on your award–you do deserve it. It’s so good that your writing and the response you’ve gotten here has helped you. Already, you’ve helped me.

    I had to laugh about the blinds, though. There are things like that (fewer these days, but still) that my daughter is attached to doing. It’s not pretty if I forget them.

  8. What a lovely, lovely post. It sounds like you’re doing a wonderful job. I had a fantastic childhood and yet sometimes I feel so ashamed of how quickly I get frustrated with my toddler – it’s just HARD to constantly put someone else first all the time. We all feel the strain of it sometimes, no matter what. Congrats on your award.

  9. I’ve felt lately like I’m not managing to comment as much as I used to – so it’s good to know that my concern is felt even if it’s not verbalized as much as it used to be.

  10. Oh how I hate whining. When my 2 1/2 year old stars up with the whine, I suggest he needs to take some time on the whiny steps. Which he hates. And which usually gets him to stop post haste.

    It sounds like you’re doing just fine… really, just fine. 🙂

  11. oh, thank you. your story is amazing… both past and present, and i am so, so glad that being ableto write about it has helped you. words are powerful, and yours are perfect examples of that.

  12. You are definitely deserving of this award.

    Writing can be such a healing release and when others read what our hearts have pured out, they are often healed as well. You are honest in your writing and your honesty not only draws me in, it reassures me that none of us are perfect. But despite our imperfections, one thing holds true, we love our children dearly. At the end of the day, that is what matters.

    Thank you Emily for candidly sharing your life with us!

  13. Oh my, what a beautiful post. I so feel this post. You could have been describing my son. Congrats on your award. You got me thinking I get more than I give too. Very poignant post.

  14. heh. I loved reading this because I doubt my abilities as a parent all the time.

    Its nice to have the support huh?

  15. Oh man, can I relate to this post. Three is hard.

  16. I’m so glad that you are writing, and learning from the process. And sharing what you’ve been learning. Because it helps me learn, too. (And it’s all about me, right? Oh, wait.)

    It’s wonderful that blogging can lead to so much support.

  17. Congratulations on your award! I’ve REALLY enjoyed reading your blog. 🙂

  18. This was a really lovely post. Congrats on your award!

  19. Babe. Thanks. I’m about three miles behind in the bloggy marathon that is each day, so sorry for the lateness of this comment.

    I replied on my blog in a post today. Go see. 🙂

  20. This is poignant. Parenting can feel so futile, but like so many things we have to be willing to adapt and change our strategies as necessary. Children are seldom “one size fits all” and the methods of coping and parenting are much the same way.

    Thanks for visiting my blog.

  21. Wow. Thank you so much, Emily. I am honored.

    You are one of the people I must read every day, when I’m online. This weekend I missed everything because I broke my toe, but that is another story.

    And? You’re an inspiration to me as well. I love reading about your little family (the one you’ve built, not the ones you got stuck with 😉 ) and especially your boys.

    You are a good mom. A good wife. A good friend. You are just an all-around good person.

    Don’t ever let anything, or anyone, make you doubt that.

  22. it’s amazing, isn’t it? it’s all been said, what I’m about to try and say again, only far less well, but it’s true; having each other for support is so necessary. this post is a perfect supporting example – I needed to read it, because I’ve lately been dealing with a very mercurial child and it’s taken everything, I’ve marshaled all of my strength in order to not totally FREAK OUT and throw myself on the floor, kicking and screaming right alongside the child.

    yay you, is what I was trying to get at.

    and you’re right about those women. Julie and B&P and Steph are just as you say, and I’m sure those other women are, too, because you’re smart and wise and knowing.

    bless you.

  23. Dude, and now I’ve been MIA for a week and feel like a bad bloggy friend.

    Thank you.

    I hope you know I get so much out of your writing and your musings about life. And I’m totally going to try that dump the kid back in bed move.