Laura Reeve Photography
In addition to all that, part of the reason we moved back to Alaska was because I didn't like the weather in Maryland. The spring and fall are nice, the summer is horrendous, and it's not like the winters in Maryland are warm - they're cold, but it's brown and gross and no snow to play in. OH WAIT, THAT'S ALASKA NOW. Go home mother nature, you're drunk. The snow normally brightens up our dark winters, and the last two winters without much snow, I have noticed my anxiety and depression spikes this time of year. Hence why I'm beating myself up over the wrong color cups and then overreacting about the wrong color cups and then beating myself up for the overreaction over stupid sippy cups. And continuing to write about sippy cups.
So despite what you may be thinking, this isn't really a venting blog post about sippy cups. It's about those moments. Those rare, sweet, special moments in the midst of all the sibling fights, refusal to put on coats in 15* weather resulting in stares from strangers, and bedtime battles and mommy sob fests into bags
We had one of those moments yesterday, thank you, God. So, it seems itty bitty Clara has become the "cute" little girl in the school that everyone wants to hug and pick up. I get it, I do, in my totally unbiased opinion she's adorable and sometimes has the personality to match (she normally saves that for other people, I get more of the "YOU'RE NOT MY MOM ANYMORE!!!" outbursts.) I try really hard to teach her she's in charge of her body and if she doesn't want to be hugged, kissed, tickled, high fived, or anything else, that's her choice but it's really difficult for me to reinforce when I'm not there to back her up. I trust her teachers, but 1) they aren't me and 2) they have lots of other kids to watch too, so Clara being hugged isn't at the top of their priority list when Joe is shoving marbles up Susie's nose (I KNOW, something I'm trying to wrap my brain around too.) She was telling me about how one of the boys hugged her and picked her up and how she didn't like it because he squeezes too tight, and she didn't want a hug. She told him no (go girl!) and he did it anyway (PLEASE TEACH YOUR SONS ABOUT CONSENT, KTHXBYE.) She told her teacher and she said she'd talk to him, but Clara was frustrated because this has been happening a lot with a lot of different kids. It's a hard line, trying to validate those feelings (I'm pretty good at that part), while also giving her tools to use when I'm not there (I'm ok at that part), while also trying to explain that her friend's intentions weren't bad but it was still never ok to hug someone who doesn't want to be hugged (I'm getting there with that part too.) While I was taking my time putting all of this into words, Haddie said "It's ok, Clara. I will help you! I will go to school with you. I will yell at him if he hugs you when you say no!" While the fact that Haddie said she was going to yell at someone for doing something wrong says something about my awesome parenting lately, I tried not to focus on that part but rather her sentiment and the look on Clara's face when she reached over to hold Haddie's hand as an unspoken thank you.
There are a hundred awful moments I could be focusing on right now, in our country and in my home. I can't compare sibling fights and mommy time outs (I put myself in one on Saturday) to the bigger issues going on outside my home, but I'm weary from it all. It's my prayer that I can focus on that one moment. Haddie will help Clara, she said so. "I will help you." It will help me, too.