One of the things that never fails to blow my mind on a daily basis is how much of a little sponge my daughter is. At 3.5 years old, she seems to be learning things at an unbelievable rate. She’ll go to her summer camp for the morning and come back with new words, new skills and new tiger stripes on her arms and legs (the latter from a love of animals and washable markers).
Sometimes I forget that despite her learning abilities, she is only 3.5 and while she has an unbelievable memory (remembering that the general store at the pioneer village that we last visited a year ago sold India rubber balls and she would like another one, please) and quickly adapts to new things, I need to remember that she can’t necessarily process it all.
Which brings me to stress.
There is a lot of it at our house right now, mostly due to financial / business concerns. My husband and I have run a company for the last 9 years, in part so we could have a family and avoid the perils and pitfalls of a knitted together child care system, but we are at the edge of a precipice right now. It’s not a question of if we will fall, but more a question of when. So, this is creating a fair amount of stress around the house.
I thought we were doing a pretty good job of shielding our wee one from all of it: talking about things while she is at camp or after bed time, confining other comments to text messages or emails to one another, during the day.
Apparently, I was wrong.
Yesterday was harder than most and I have to admit that by late afternoon, I became Yelly Mom, finally turning on a movie so that I could have 5 minutes of peace to process a few things in my head.
I thought she was oblivious and just happy to be watching Tangled. For the 150th time.
In the middle of the night, I heard her coughing and went in to check on her – she is prone to a little asthmatic wheezing when the weather is as hot and humid as it was yesterday – and she asked to go potty and get into bed with us and could I bring her binkies with me? How do you say no to that?
I didn’t. She went to the bathroom and then padded into our room and climbed into bed. I nestled in next to her and she turned to face me, put her little, tiny sweaty hands on my cheeks and said: “Are you happy now, Mom?” At that moment, I was the happiest and saddest I have ever been in her short life. Happiest because she is such a loving, perceptive child. Saddest because she is such a loving and perceptive child and I finally realized that our stress was affecting her more than we knew.
So it might be time for us to stop waiting for the edge of the precipice to crumble away and instead to be forwarding thinking and leap off, as a family. At least we can land safely, together.