I will make no bones about the fact that I am struggling a little at the moment. I went into this whole two children thing with my eyes open. I knew and understood that it would be hard. Most people told me that afterward I will not remember the first year, that it is like a fog, that you just have to get from one day to the next and eventually it gets easier.
At the moment I am constantly reminded of the scene in The Back Up plan where a dad is explaining what fatherhood is like to Stan.
Stan: What’s it like, the whole kid thing?
Playground Dad: The best way I can describe it is, it’s awful awful awful awful, and then, something incredible happens, and then awful awful awful awful awful. And then a small moment happens that’s so … so magical, so life affirming that it makes it all worthwhile.
And I can’t help but agree. I think that I would replace the word awful with hard but that’s it in a nutshell.
I think the trick to surviving is ensuring that you don’t get so bogged down by the being hard part that you miss those magical moments. Which is why Josie’s prompt for the Writing Workshop this fortnight was so perfect for me.
What made you feel alive today? What made today mean something?
Write about a moment, a thought, something you did, something that happened to you, something somebody said to you, that made you stop for a moment. It doesn’t have to big or impressive, just one thing that left you different because of it. Something that felt significant, beautiful, or that just made you feel something. It doesn’t have to have made you feel good, not all days bring us that, but it needs to have touched you.
Try and capture it andt in it down with the words you use.
You look at me through those big brown eyes. Your tear stained face has a sad expression and you raise your arms limply in the air and quietly say “Cuddle”. It is new, this week, you actually accompanying the gesture with the word and I have to remember to appreciate that. Too often you ask when I am unable to comply, when feeding your sister and it is easy to get frustrated.
I pick you up and slide you up my body as I lean back in the armchair, relishing your weight. You feel so big and whole to me these days. You are long and gangly and your limbs are strong. Where did my baby go? I tell you that I love you and that I am sorry that we fell out. For once you are still, sniffling slightly into my hair for a minute or so.
The baby is in her seat in front of us and starts to whine. It makes you wriggle in my lap so I swing you round so you are sat upright with your legs dangling off mine and I start to rock her chair. You are clutching your Bubba rabbit in one hand and you point at the dummy is Kate’s lap and make an urgent sound indicating that you think she wants it.
I give her the dummy as I am told and immediately you request other things. First your juice, then ‘wack-wack’ for the rubber duck sat on the table. Kate is still fussy and I ask you to sing her a song. As usual you just look at me so I start to sing Three Little Ducks as I rock her chair and you sit on my lap. As I watch Kate’s eyes close I feel the need to remember this moment with my two children. Today has been a hard day so far and I need to make the most of these calm parts of our day so that they can give me the strength to get through to the next one. You shout “TRACTOR” and wriggle off my lap, breaking the spell, and waking your sister again.
It was a simple moment, unremarkable to anyone else I’m sure, but magical for me.