There was nothing whatsoever laughable about the events I’m about to describe. Miserable is more like it. However, sitting on the couch with a humungo (hoo-mung-go) glass of wine and a plate of my mami’s rice and beans, I can laugh about it.
This weekend I packed up my girlies and hit the road for a mini-road trip to surprise my best friend for her big three-oh. The ride down – painless. A nap, some play, minimal whining and only one stop (I get extra points for the fact that the rest stop we went to had an entire high school on some kind of class trip and we survived the madness) – a 3 hour drive in 4.5 hours; I’ll take it!
The ride back: 6+ hours, 5 stops, non-stop crying, peed pants, vomit…I should just end this post right there.
Right, the ride back.
It started out so well, I should have known better. Barely on the highway and both my kidlets were passed out. I drove, no lie, 2 hours straight, without so much as a peep from either of them. Victory was mine! My plan was to stop once they woke up for a late lunch and then kill the last stretch home.
Just after the 2 hour mark, both girls got up and we pulled it over to the nearest restaurant – Le Chili’s. Lunch (how come an early breakfast is called a brunch but a late lunch isn’t called a dunch? or linner? hmm….) went marvelously – they gobbled up tons of food (rare) and sat relatively well and listened and didn’t touch a single thing in the restroom.
We packed it back up and hit the road only to have baby girl burst out into screamcrying no less than 20 minutes later. In between screamcries, she’d howl, ” leche!/milk!” We stopped at a Stop & Shop plaza. I nursed. We hit the road. No less than 20 minutes later, more screamcrying. We pull over, I nurse, we hit the road. We do this three more times. Three. More. Times.
The first time – No problem. I’m hungry. I have to pee. Heck, everyone’s hungry and has to pee.
Second time – Doh! Totally my fault, I forgot to nurse her before we left.
Third time – This child is testing me something fierce, this throbbing at my temples is a full blown headache now, I’m pissed – at no one, just the universe and the a-hole in front of me who keeps braking for no reason.
Fourth time – What am I going to do? Can’t stress, won’t help anyone. Surrender to this moment, there’s no where to be so just go with it, meet her little needs and get home when you get home. And big sister has been a saint, offering words of advice, reading to herself, asking me how I’m doing. She’s such a sweet girl. It’s hopeless, just give in. Pit stop for ice cream – who could cry after ice cream?
Fifth time – My kid can totally cry after ice cream.
The home stretch – She can cry after ice cream, and ta-da! vomit ice cream, too! Bless my big girl’s heart for not complaining about the noise or the stench.
It was dreaded but also one of those parenting moments where you’ve got to dig deep and just breathe through it. One of my biggest life lessons is learning to surrender, to let go, give up any illusions I have of controlling anyone and anything but myself. Driving in my car at my wit’s end I believed for a split second I could make the screamcrying stop by singing, rationalizing, talking her thru it, willing it away, clenching the steering wheel until my knuckles were white, being not so friendly to my angel of a 3.5 year old for asking too many questions, letting the baby play with my phone, throwing snacks at her. I was under the impression we could get through the screamcrying on my terms. Wrong.
When I finally said f-this, let’s just get out of the car and really focus on baby’s needs, things went a lot more smoothly. She didn’t stop crying but I was in a better place knowing I’d addressed her needs with an open heart, 110% of my attention and without my needs in mind.
So what am I babbling about here? Surrender. It never fails me. Surrender and no doubt everything after will be better than everything before. Give it a try.