22.10.14

The Days I Hate Being A Parent.

I had it all planned out. My to-do list sat in prime position on the bench. The day had been a smooth one and I was on track to have the younger kids in bed before my husband arrived home with our eldest. The way I was going, I would be able to watch a favourite show and head off to bed at a reasonable hour, ready for my 4:45am start the next day. I was already giving myself imaginary high-fives for how much I had rocked the day.

But then....I checked my email.

And my perfect like-clockwork evening crumbled. 

The message was to inform that a teacher had passed away at the kids' school. Although it was expected, it wasn't expected THIS soon. We had all been holding on to a thread of hope that she would miraculously pull through. But she didn't.

Suddenly, the things on my list didn't seem so urgent. The unwashed dishes, the half-packed lunch boxes - all trivial matters compared to the very real loss facing our school community. My cup of tea sat untouched as I tried to comprehend the enormity of the situation. 

When would I tell the girls? Should I tell them before they go to bed? I knew I couldn't tell them in the morning, because I'd be at work. And how could I feign happiness with my children when I knew I was going to be the bearer of such sad news? 

My eldest daughter arrived home from her band competition. We got silver! She said, buzzing after her performance. It was such a big thing for her - a primary school student playing with the high school band. That's awesome! I said - perhaps with a little too-much enthusiasm as I tried to mask my sadness at the news I had received earlier.  I let her enjoy the moment as she told me all about her night. And for once, I was focused. In the zone. Paying attention to every single detail she told me. Because these are the precious moments in life - the ones we are not always guaranteed. The ones that make it all worthwhile. The ones that mean so much more than a completed to-do list. 

But then I had to break the news to my girls. The crappy, life-really-sucks-at-times news. The I-don't-want-to-be-a-parent-today news. 

And it sucked. It really sucked.

They cried. I cried. And we hugged for a very long time. 

And I realised that some days, being a parent is so darn hard.