A Cry for Help

18

May 29, 2015 by Katia

desparation

Every so often I’ll send a cry for help  and watch in awe how it makes its way to Latvia, Israel, The United States and England and all the way to my neighbours around the corner. I cry: help?! and a reassuring echo: help. Help! finds me on my way back home from school drop off sometimes days later.

**

The interesting thing is that sometimes your “help?!” can become somebody else’s “help. Help!” That image I posted, reassured someone else that they weren’t the only ones struggling that night.

Modern families consist of a parent or two, kids, sometimes a pet and usually an internet. Some people claim that the ever present latter gets in the way of the members of our modern family, interfering with their ability to be present and of course it does. I believe that distractions were always there for those wishing to be distracted and that sometimes distractions are what keeps us going.  For me, the internet has been, among other  things, immediate access to support and as such it sometimes served as an essential aid to navigating the waters of parenting.

**

We’re lying in his bed. His little brother just fell asleep after a two hour ordeal. It’s eight o’clock and we’re just starting our bedtime routine. He’s being defiant. When he starts repeating what I’m saying, I stop talking mid sentence.  He’s curious, there’s urgency in his voice, mama, mama, mama, he needs to know what it is, exactly what it is, so badly that he misbehaves again. It might be a mental deep breath or an actual one. I inhale and start speaking calmly to him. I’m saying all the same things I usually do. The same sentences used so often, you’d think they’d be more polished or effective by now, but instead they  just sound hollow. Maybe this is a weird case of synaesthesia of sorts, where my brain attaches the expected reaction – nothing – to my words rendering them hollow. But this time is different. I can almost see the words landing in his lap. His facial expression changes as he looks down at them and internalizes their meaning. I try to keep it neutral and blame free. I tell him once again that all I do is try to keep him and his brother safe, happy and well fed. That sometimes I’m impatient and it’s because I spend so much time worrying. The words sink in and their weight seems to be pulling him down. He tells me that maybe he’s not the right kid for me and I passionately reassure him that my kids are the only kids for me. I explain that the reason we experience such deep feelings toward each other – love, annoyance, anger – is precisely because we care so much, which makes us right. But he now questions whether he ever makes me happy. My turn to sink. I remind him how just a couple of hours ago I couldn’t stop praising him for getting on that bike without his training wheels for the third time ever – SECOND TIME, he corrects me, in what’s become our shtick this afternoon – and how I bragged about him to everyone we’d met on our way, Mike the teacher, Jakey and his parents. But the cloud is still not lifted and I share something personal with him. I tell him that I spoke to God that afternoon. I was marveling at that silhouette on the bike, the fact that that child in the distance, so far away from me is mine and that he is doing all of that. That he is big enough to be riding so far away from me, on his own, confident and in control. The fact that he was so small in the distance, as small as I will always perceive him, much smaller than the “big brother” role he plays every day. I saw him as small and as big as he really is at six. I tell him how I watched him and said a quiet thank you” in my mind, thank you for all of this and for allowing me to be a witness to this moment.  He absorbs my words, pauses for a second, then throws himself at me, arms open, without saying a word. After a while he brings up my mortality. He’s on the verge of tears when he talks about how he’d never stop thinking of me when I die. I tell him I’ll always be there and we discuss the signs I’d give him.

“Do you know what would really really break my heart?” He asks.

“Yes. If somebody died”.

“No. If my TV split into two pieces.” He pauses and thinks. “And if somebody died” he adds for good measures.

***

I hope that this is what you needed to hear today.

**

How is YOUR day going mom and dad? I want to hear about it.

This was a Netflix Stream Team post on the topic of modern families. You’ll find an abundance of modern families on Netflix including the members of Arrested Development and two of my all time favourites Gilmore Girls and Party of Five as well as the new show Grace and Frankie.

For more deep and funny follow my Facebook page.

18 thoughts on “A Cry for Help

  1. Annie says:

    This is such a tough age for ‘us’ (as parents) and ‘them’ (independence seekers). My son and I are going thru the same thing but instead of using words, it seems as though his eyes are malfunctioning… They tend to roll back every time I reprimand him. (Ugh, hahaha) I can laugh at it now, as I find therapy with other parents, but at the time, I could just… Ugh. I could just… Give up. But we don’t. We find another way… Because we love them. I better call my mum right now… And tell her thank you, for not giving up on me.😉

    • Katia says:

      Super tough when the reasoning skills are not fully there yet, yet the expectations of you are high and the fuse is short🙂

      And ugh, the eye malfunction. As hilarious as that definition is, that would drive me up the walls too!

  2. lrconsiderer says:

    Beautiful, beautiful soul in that child, Katia. He is a mini-you, and I adore him. But I bub you.

    Thank you for writing this.

    (P.S. Neff once told me he was going to be a rock star when he grew up and make a video of him singing so that we could watch it once he’d died, so that we wouldn’t miss him. They have a way of breaking your heart in two)

    • Katia says:

      I bub you too!!!

      I cherish those who can see and appreciate his soul. I’m so glad you enjoyed this.

      And that story about your nephew, oh my god. Sometimes I hear Ben say things like that and I understand that he doesn’t put the same meaning into this as we do but it’s still so hard to hear them say things like that.

      • lrconsiderer says:

        It was such a wrench to think that he was even considering Not Being, and that he was aware we would miss him! Where do they GET concepts like that, so young?!

  3. This is a beautiful thing to read right now. I’m so amazed at how wise kids can be at this age and how well they can communicate. My daughter worries about me dying and my son worries about the TV breaking. They are both on summer break and it is sinking in that this is our last summer before they are both in school full time (kindergarten & 1st grade). They will never be this dependent on me as they are right now. They’ll just get more and more independent from here. It’s bittersweet.🙂

  4. Katia says:

    Oh Karen, I’m glad it was the right thing at the right moment. When I was telling my mom about that evening I felt like this is what makes the rough times worth it and that I should share it. It’s definitely bittersweet. I never thought that parenting was so interlaced with that sense of constant loss. xoxo

  5. I love this post.

    I struggle with two scenarios. I have a 16 year old son and a 3 (almost 4) year old son. I don’t know who fights for independence more. I am a single parent. I have some help but not as much as I would like from the fathers (two different dads). I get frustrated and angry. I lose my head sometimes. Usually, my little one just wants me to hold him. My older one is usually snarky and disrespectful but can still be fun sometimes. They are my boys and I love them. I do whatever I can for them even if it means forgoing something I want or need. I sacrifice. I want happiness for both of them but sometimes it isn’t always returned. I do my best that I know how. If I feel I am doing something wrong, I try to make different choices and get advice. It’s the best any of us can do. There is no manual. No directions.

    • Katia says:

      So wonderful that the post resonated with you, and my apologies for taking SO LONG to respond and acknowledge. I’m sucking at comment time lately. The age difference you describe is a challenge, I can only imagine, with each one of them being a very different type of challenge p the snark vs. tantrums, but at some point it’ll feel like the younger one caught up to the older one. My deepest respect to you for doing this and on your own. My mom raised me as a single mom and I have the biggest, softest spot for women like you.❤

  6. Kristi Campbell - findingninee says:

    I cried a bit. That’s how much I relate and love this. And love you.

  7. Mfaisal says:

    This is a beautiful thing to read right now. I’m so cried.

  8. mommycoop says:

    Hi there- I just started following your blog, and I have to say, this really stood out to me. My son is 2, and I’m just starting to see how much he understands. I’m a single parent and my son sees his father once a month, and I can tell when he feels the sense of loss even if he can’t communicate it. It’s not the same as understanding that a parent won’t be around forever… but at the same time, it is. It’s so hard to reassure him at his age, I can only hope that I’m saying the right things to him and giving him all the hugs and kisses he needs. He does constantly remind me, though, that his most important and favorite thing is blanky, not mommy. But I hope that one day when he’s older and can understand, we can have conversations like this. Thank you for sharing.

    • Katia says:

      Thank you so much for commenting and for the great feedback.

      I agree, it’s hard to communicate the idea of loss at two, or at least we perceive it as hard, our kids certainly understand and internalize more complex concepts than we expect them to, but I think that some of it is not about the content but the tone of your voice when you’re reassuring your child, your expressions and the body language. I think it’s great that you’re giving him hugs, kisses and reassurance. That’s all he needs at this stage🙂

  9. alidowns says:

    Thank you for this post, I know that I am not the only parent out there that struggles from time to time, but sometimes it feels like it and it is a lonely place to be. My husband and I are very close and he supports me whole heartedly, always backs me up and we work as a team, however it is always me that takes the lead.
    “Whatever you think best, I’ll go with…”
    Sometimes it would be nice if he came up with the suggestions or solutions once in a while.
    I have a 13 year old boy and a 10 year old daughter. This last year has been a horrific time for my son – a mixture of messed up friends playing with his mind (in a way that teenagers should not have to deal with) hormones and trying to be as ‘cool as his mates’. We have shouted at each other, cried with each other and clung to each other like our lives depend it on.
    I’m never sure where to draw the line with my conversations with him – how much do I tell him about how I am feeling? I need him to know that I love him so deeply that it hurts sometimes, but is that too much for a young boy to understand?
    Someone once said to me that everyone says that they want a baby, but you don’t hear many people saying that they want a teenager!
    Still looking for the manual on parenthood….can someone let me know if they find it?

    • Katia says:

      Oh my goodness, thank you so so so much for this wonderful comment. It means the world to me to realize that a personal musing like that – which was written with the hopes of reaching someone else’s heart and helping – did. I am no pro when it comes to teenagers, or even the age group that my children currently represent, but how about writing your son a letter to let him know how deeply you feel about him? Sometimes it’s hard to catch your teenager at the exact moment when they’re ready to talk and if I remember correctly you have to walk on eggshells, whereas a letter allows more freedom. I wish you the best of luck and please feel free to stop by again and let me know how your conversation went. I am rooting for you over here! xoxo

  10. Excellent post. Thank you for being brave enough to share your occasional struggles with the world! Unfortunately, I think this is something many mothers are afraid to do and your courage is inspiring. Beautifully written piece.

    • Katia says:

      Thank you so much! How lovely waking up to your comments this morning. It means the world to me knowing that these words, sometimes sent into a big unknown, reached someone and mattered. I look forward to getting to know your website better.

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Tired. Going from 10 months of staying at home with the kids to full time work is disorienting.  I have to redefine what my involvement in their lives looks like. I have to go dig for my creativity, it's not readily available. I have to make room for friendships that were already pushed to the outskirts of my mommy life. What was previously inaccessible, existing in the "so near yet so far" category - books, blazers and heels - became a staple in this old new reality in a matter of days. Tired and disoriented but also content, supported and appreciative. #momsofinstagram #random #randomthoughts #changes #workingmom #tired #tgif
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