By Pieta Shakes
It has been one of those months. The ones where things have been going well so you set higher goals, push a little harder and introduce some new routines. The ones where the consequence of these changes lead to sleepless nights, lower tolerance thresholds and resurfaces old behaviours.
The ones where both child and parent are simply exhausted, where you want to go back to the calm and easy, but know moving forward is ever important.
It’s these moments when thoughts catch me. The thoughts. I run, they follow and I’m usually quick and busy enough to avoid their grasp. But when tiredness hits, when my energy is spent on negotiating the simplest of tasks, when I stop and pause, they catch up and take hold.
Yesterday, the thoughts caught me while I paused and watched a group of young children run around, play, interact with smiles, words and laughter. It was simple, effortless for them. Full of enjoyment. It’s in these moments the thoughts break me.
Last night settling to sleep I paused again thinking of where we are and pondering where we will end up. I thought of the things given up and yet wanted, my work, time with friends, spontaneity in life. I dwelled on the added complexity of this world I’m in. How enjoyable activities that are well planned and prepared for, can still so easily turn sour.
I think of the communications with Centrelink and NDIA, the additional challenges should we consider enrolling in school rather than home schooling. How simple becomes complex. And yet, I feel guilt, immense guilt about these thoughts for I made a commitment to my girl – to walk alongside her, support her and create a world where value is not placed on one’s abilities and challenges or compliance, a space where diversity is celebrated and she is empowered and respected.
So, I spent this morning cleaning. Cleaning is productive. Cleaning creates order and when my mind is chaotic the order brings a sense of calm, relief. The humming of the vacuum took me back to a time when we would need to negotiate the vacuum, a time we would need to prepare to vacuum. When the noise was so distressing that I would need to vacuum single-handed while holding my girl.
It’s in these moments the thoughts stop me.
Vacuuming single-handed reminded me of the year spent doing most things single-handed; holding and comforting my 4yo while cooking, while on the toilet. The skipped meals and showers, the lost days and wakeful nights. The times spent waiting and watching while life sent her into a space of pain. Then I watch her now, in a different space, a different time. To see her smile, her relax, show curiosity and interest. To see that past hurdles and angst are but a memory as we move onto the next.
I think of her laughter, I think of her love, her trust and her fight. It’s in these moments the thoughts build me. We are here now. We have come far. We are both learning, adapting and growing in time and on our own schedules, together. These hurdles of this month will too be overcome. The challenge will become the accomplished and the chaos will settle.
We’ll then move the goal posts, open up the next step and invite the unknown again. Perhaps when we do face the unknown and the thoughts catch me, next time I’ll take a breath, and let the thoughts come build me.