Today, through both a oceanside memorial and a celebration of life, we gathered to say goodbye to Jaclyn’s father John. Some of the people in attendance were family and friends of mine that I haven’t seen since at least before COVID dropped, if not far longer. Any one of these things would’ve made the day an emotional one all by itself, but it also happened to be one of–if not THE–most challenging days of parenting I’ve had to weather thus far.
From the time he woke up, Miles was crabby, argumentative, hostile, disagreeable…really a host of undesirable adjectives. Try as we might to manage his behaviors, Miles’s belligerence was truly transcendent. Jaclyn was focused) as much as she could be on helping to run the day’s events, and I was left to both 1) run interference with Miles and 2) attempt to be present for the memorial. I knew almost immediately that doing both simultaneously would be impossible. Still, against my own better judgement, I tried. The results were both predictable and emotionally draining.
In all fairness to Miles, he was coming off a challenging week of his own, with his ER trip last Sunday followed by a late-week illness. His eating habits were thrown off, he hadn’t been sleeping well, and here we were carting him off to an unfamiliar (relatively speaking) location filled with people he doesn’t get to see very often. It was about as far from his normal routine as he could get.
On top of that, as suggested in yesterday’s post, Miles was really hell-bent on going to the beach. And in all fairness, we had every intention of taking a leisurely trip to the beach with him, but the reality of both our Saturday trip down to Myrtle Beach and the amount of time on Sunday that was devoted to John’s memorial ultimately made it next to impossible to get there.
To sum up, “Hungry, sleep-deprived child”+”Abnormal setting”+”Overstimulation”+”No trip to the beach”=”CHAOS.” Factor that in with my complete inability to really invest, emotionally or otherwise, in anything happening around me, and I found myself spiraling. By the end of the day, I just completely broke down.
It’s not that parenting is hard. It’s not that it’s tough losing a family member. It’s not that seeing long-absent friends and family members brings a deluge of emotions with it. It’s not that every trip back to my childhood home brings with it the sense that time is always moving forward, whether we want it to or not.
It’s that sometimes all of these things happen at once. And sometimes we just have to give ourselves room to contend with it.