Monday, May 11, 2009

Extreme Sport

"If everything seems under control, 
you're just not going fast enough." 
 Mario Andretti.

Motherhood is an extreme sport.  As a mother, you feel all emotions to the extreme; love, fear, tenderness, frustration, worry, joy, name it.  And quite often you swing from one intense emotion to its' polar opposite in a matter of minutes!  

Last Wednesday, for example, I ricocheted from joy to frustration to love to laughter and back to joy again in one afternoon.  It all began with joy.  Although it was a gloomy, wet day, I got out the rain gear and nestled the girls into the double-stroller for an afternoon walk.  If you're a resident of the Comox Valley, you know how beautiful Filberg Park is, and we're lucky enough to be able to walk there in minutes.  As we entered the park I saw a dozen deer sleeping in the field.  A little fawn stood up to investigate us and I looked in the stroller to see Pip's reaction.  She was sound asleep.  There's something terribly moving about watching your child sleep.  It's a profoundly beautiful thing.  

I pushed the stroller through the park, down to the beach-side promenade, and I felt as though I was truly seeing every beautiful flower, every precious plant.  There were no other human visitors to the park that day, but I saw deer at every turn.  Crazybaby was happily absorbing the beautiful scenery while her sister slept, and I felt an intense wave of gratitude.  Strolling with my two beautiful, healthy girls in such a gorgeous part of the world, I was filled with joy.  Pure joy.

Little did I know that an hour later I would be standing in the kitchen with two girls crying and clinging onto my legs.  My husband was at a function for dinner that night, so I was flying solo.  (I have such respect for single parents.)  I had awoken Pip when we got home from our walk, otherwise she would've been up until midnight.  She has never had an easy time waking up from naps, and this afternoon was no exception.  She was upset that she missed the park and she wanted to go back.  Then she was upset that I couldn't carry her into the house.  Pip reverts back to infancy when she's grumpy, so she started crying and repeating the plea, "Mama."  Naturally, her behaviour prompted Crazybaby to start wailing.  By the time I got us all into the house and out of our jackets, both girls had tears streaming down their hot little red cheeks.  I wiped their noses and tears,  then I foolishly tried to make my way into the kitchen to start cooking dinner.  My daughters followed me and each little body latched onto a leg.

At this point, I took a deep breath, turned the stove off and just sat down on the kitchen floor with a daughter on each knee.  Screw the steamed vegetables.  My babies needed some love, so I abandoned my dinner plan and tried to soothe them.  It didn't work.  Pip had worked herself into such a state that she was inconsolable.  I needed a distraction.  I decided to resort to the thirty-nine-inch babysitter.  I hoisted both girls up and into the living room to watch The Wiggles.  After several minutes of cuddling and Wiggle-watching on the couch, Pip had calmed down.  "I'm happy now, Mama," she finally reported, and I was released back into the kitchen.

Minutes later, the girls and I sat down to dinner: grilled cheese sandwiches with grapes on the side.  (You do what you have to do.)  Oh yes, I had a glass of Merlot as well.  I had earned it, and the meal required it.  I was not prepared for what came next.  Little Pip, sitting next to me in her booster seat, put her hand on my arm and said, "You're filled with love, Mama.  And soon, it'll go out to daddy and out to me, and then back; back into your heart."  I swear those were her very words.  I had my notebook on the counter behind me and I wrote everything down, word for word.  I certainly was filled with love.  Pip got that right.

Because our nutritious dinner was late, we went straight from the table to our bath-time routine.  Pip hopped up on the toilet before entering the tub.  She decided not to use the little toddler seat, so she was using all of the strength in her arms to keep herself from falling into the toilet bowl.  "Mama," she began, "your bum is soooooooooo big that you can't fall into the toilet."  Perhaps it was sheer exhaustion from my day of extreme sport, but I honestly could not stop laughing.

My emotions came full circle while watching the girls in the tub together.  Crazybaby played peek-a-boo with Pip and used the shower curtain to cover her face.  They were simply making each other laugh, but seeing my daughters erupt in fits of giggles filled me with joy once again.  

It's no wonder that I sometimes feel out-of-control; my emotions are bungee-jumping all over the place.  I'm more of an artistic soul than an athletic one, and have never been interested in extreme sports.  It's a new feeling for me.  I prefer calmer, more predictable sports like hiking, beach-combing and floating in warm, salty bodies of water.  I'm adapting though.  I'm learning to go with the flow, to drop my own agenda sometimes so that I can really be in the moment.  I accept that some moments are going to be like cliff-diving, but others will be as sweet as floating in a warm, salty sea.