A Handful of Sh*t: Putting Life Into Perspective
Earlier this week my sweet little Lily reached into her diaper and pulled out a handful of shit. As a parent, you are exposed to the grossest of gross. Puke, mucus, shit, pee. I'm no stranger to any of it. I've seen things that I can't un-see.
I will say that all of this is disgusting. Just because it's your kid's shit, doesn't mean it isn't disgusting. Pre-kids I thought that parents just loved their children so much that they loved their poop as well. Not the case. I love my kids. They are my everything. But I don't love the grossness of it all. You're just dealing with the grossness on such a regular basis that it becomes part of life. Of course, a hand full of shit is another level. So you just have to laugh when that happens (after you scream and wash hands of course).
Parenting grounds you. It has made me more patient as a caregiver to my mom. And being a young caregiver has given me a lot of perspective in my parenting. You don't really have time to worry about the little things when you're dealing with big issues. As stressful as it's been becoming a caregiver and new parent at once, the two roles can balance out each other in a lot of ways.
Going into a memory care facility with toddlers is a distraction from the darkness of dementia. To my two year olds, they know no different than visiting their Bubbie at her "big house". Lily and Teddy get attention as soon as we walk in. They wave and smile to all the residents and nurses. They play with the community dogs and run down the hallways. They don't see that my mom is different from other grandparents. They love her for who she is in this moment and I'm trying to learn from them.
And, my mom truly benefits from her relationship with my kids. She knows who they are. They bring a light into her world. She loves watching them play and hearing them sing. They give her purpose. She isn't the grandmother I always pictured her to be, but she's able to play the role nonetheless. I am grateful my kids have her in their lives.
In the same way that you sometimes have to laugh at the messes and tantrums of two year olds, we use humor to get through my mom's disorder. It's better to laugh than cry, right? Maybe.
In this moment, with my tiny Teddy snoring softly beside me, I'm so thankful to have my kids' innocence to lean on. When the pressure of it all gets too rough, life surprises you with a sweet little hug or an "I love you, Mommy." And all of the hard work is totally worth it.
Sometimes life gives you a handful of shit and you just have to laugh. In the grand scheme of things, it's not so bad.