“Growth begins when we start to accept our own weakness”
― Jean VanierQuote citing
Being an adult is hard but being a parent and being adult during times when you need to be an adult,,,well let’s just say I slipped for a minute or three. I had a bit of a melt down on Saturday night (Easter Vigil eve); not the best version of myself that’s for sure. I was feeling a wee bit sorry for myself and wanting to just…yell. Why? Not so easy to admit. My meltdown came about out of something so innocent in action but triggered a deeper seed of hurt that I did not realize I was carrying – not being able to be there for and with my family.
Let me back up just a bit. Five weeks ago, I headed off to Ontario to be with my eldest daughter who was expecting her first child, a baby girl. My daughter did not want me to come too early but not too late. Well, as parents know, baby’s have their own clock. I arrived on the Sunday evening, receiving the best of hugs and kisses from my daughter and partner…oh it felt good as we had not seen each other for awhile. Baby was due on the Thursday but no show so instead had doctor’s appointment. What transpired during that visit? OB said no visitors to hospital, may be induced early next week if baby does not come, and that if I flew in, I would have to leave. OB believed things were going to get worse. That Thursday evening, the Ontario government sent a public message out stating that schools would be closed for two weeks after March Break and non-essential businesses will be closing possibly. Holy lightning!! Then a text from my daughters back home saying what was happening on island. All in a span of one week…overnight really, chaos and fear set in like wildfire.
Thankfully, baby girl was born on Monday evening, a miracle of delight in the wake of this fear. How to feel? My daughter and partner were on overload; trying to figure out this thing called parenting a newborn. Not even going there. So I began the practice between self-isolation and social distancing for three weeks… getting their home set up with food and baby needs, allowing them to sleep, disinfecting the home, showering or washing clothes as soon as I returned from outside world (thank goodness for stores introducing shopping only for seniors from 7 to 8 am) and of course the suffering – holding and tending to baby girl’s needs (NOT AT ALL). I miss her so much. Needless to say it was the best and worst of times,
But I knew I had to return home because they needed to get the hang of parenting without me present. You got this kids. My heart hurt to leave but even more so because I could not even go visit my own parents and sister as I could be a carrier and they are in vulnerable. So I left. Driving straight through, 18 hours, only stopping for gas and washroom breaks, washing my hands thoroughly, at each and every stop. I was going to get a hotel in NB but after I was stopped at the border check-in and questioned, license plate and own license taken, I changed my mind. Finally crossing the bridge, questioned at checkpoint again, I drove home for a self-isolation of 14 days.
So why the meltdown. Well, it was when we were trading vehicles back. I had taken my middle daughter’s car to Ontario because it would be easier on gas. Obviously not necessary as it turned out. So in my head, her car was in self-isolation and Saturday night would be safe to trade back. Walking up to the top of lane with my youngest daughter. as that is where her car and middle daughter’s cars are parked (soft laneway due to permafrost), we wait. Then I see my truck come up the road. My middle daughter parks it at side of road, steps out and I notice her wearing gloves (it is not cold out) and tosses me my keys. I toss her keys to her. Then she gets in her car and drives off. Meanwhile, I felt under a microscope as two cars drove by while we were exchanging vehicles – felt like being in a fishbowl with social distancing police. Only in my head.
So when I parked the truck and walked back down lane to home, my mind took a turn to crazy sad and hurt. What just happened? Sitting in the family room I felt like having a bit of a tantrum…which lasted until Easter Sunday morn. Are you kidding me? Mature? No. Adult? Not even. And here with Easter day before me, my family and friends sending me beautiful and heartfelt Easter messages and I was not joyful…pouting more like it. Really Karen. God must laugh alot.
What I had come to realize was my insides were shaken up and I was grieving. Grieving for what is not. In that moment of tossing the keys, I was becoming present to my self-isolation, to this whole social distancing thing and its reality on my very being in not being able to be with my family, skin to skin. I was giving into my weakness of being human, slipping for a minute of three (more like a day). Sometimes I think we have to embrace the hurt.
All I can say is that thank goodness for love and forgiveness. Especially to my middle daughter who called me, reminding me that it is okay, I’m not alone, and to find comfort in knowing people around she and I, can relate. Who is the adult now?
I pray for families and our neighbours, near and far, to find strength, care, and support during these times of social distancing.