Living with a four year old can be a wild ride. One minute everything is fine, and the next it is as if the world is ending.
Last week, I was telling V that I was going to make spaghetti for dinner. Meal times are always a struggle with a picky eater and little one that loves to be in control, so the day before I let it be known that spaghetti and meatballs was for dinner tomorrow.
Protest ensued. V made it clear that she didn’t want sketti and meatballs, she wanted macaroni and cheese (again), as that is always the first preference. I tried the strategy “I understand it’s frustrating that I’m making spaghetti and you want macaroni again”. Protest intensified.
At this point, I’m reminding myself in my head to stay calm. Breathe, count to 5. While my little internal calming session is going on, V takes it upon herself to reach for the sketti noodles to put them back into the pantry. What she doesn’t know is that the end of the box is open.
You can imagine what’s next………yep, sketti noodles flying everywhere!! At this point the deep breathing and counting is blocked by the color red.
I pick her up and head to her room. It’s time for her to calm down. It’s time for me to calm down. What we are doing now isn’t working. And for me, that was the sketti noodle that broke this camel’s back.
My mom was fortunate enough (sarcasm) to witness sketti-gate. She says “You’re going to be picking up sketti noodles forever”. Yep. She’s right. At that point she goes upstairs to be with highly upset 4 year old.
I scoop up some of the noodles, leaving some for V to clean up. I calm down, she calms down and then she helps clean up the rest of the noodles. Suddenly sketti and meatballs is the best thing ever for dinner. Well, except mac & cheese but I don’t dare remind her of that.
About half an hour later, over a glass of wine, my Mom and I have a real good laugh over the flying spaghetti noodles. I decide that every piece of spaghetti noodle that I find in the coming days will be my reminder to find the humor in these intense moments while they are happening.
And then I think back to how laughter was what kept us going last year. With Lucy’s diagnosis we had so many unknowns. Would she need a feeding tube? Surgery for her incomplete palate? When will seizures start? Will seizure medication wipe out development that she worked so hard to achieve in therapy? We had 6 specialists to follow up with. We had very little uninterrupted sleep.
Stress does things to you that you have very little control over. And time was so precious to us. We wanted to make positive memories as a family. We wanted to experience the joy of having another baby and a little sister for V. Stress got in the way sometimes. And there were some very dark days on our journey.
But, there were also some really great moments that I will never forget. In fact, I will hold those moments in my heart and soul forever. And I never would have been able to have those moments without keeping my sense of humor.
Our condo was a duplex down, kitchen/living room/den on the main floor, bedrooms and both bathrooms downstairs. Bathrooms downstairs made potty training even more of a nightmare. We relied a lot on a free standing potty on the main floor.
One morning after getting V out the door with her Dad for school, I sat down holding Lucy and sighed. I looked down at the floor, and what did I see, a turd. Yep, turd on the living room floor. And in that moment, I laughed hysterically and said to my Mom, “Wow, you know it’s going to be a great day when you look down see a turd on the living room floor”.
I was tired, scared, uncertain, already grieving, and in that moment, all I needed was a good laugh. I learned that choosing to see the humor in things is something that I do have control over.
Grieving with PTSD and trying to function in this world again is a challenge. What keeps me going? One thing is laughter. It always has.
I inherited sarcasm from both sides of the family. I’m a people person and every once in awhile I meet someone that I don’t click with. It always takes me a bit to figure out why, but then it hits me, no sense of humor. And I think, what am I going to do with that? Then I make it my mission to get a good laugh out of them.
I’m lucky to have a 4 year old that provides multiple opportunities a day to laugh!! And I think she has my sense of humor, HA!
So if you find yourself stressed, annoyed, angry, remember to slow down, stop taking yourself so seriously, and laugh! It truly is the best medicine.
When our oldest daughter Violet was born, that’s when we found out she was a girl. What a lovely surprise! I was secretly hoping for a girl. Mostly because that’s what I know. With our second, we decided to find out early. And when we found out we were having another little girl, we were delighted!
When the walls came crashing down, all we could think about was Violet. All of our dreams of Violet and Lucy chasing each other in the back yard, stealing each other’s clothes, telling each other secrets, shattered.
And it’s not just the sister stuff from childhood that I worried Violet would miss out on. But the adult relationship that sisters share.
Things like exploring the world and yourself through travel. Sharing big accomplishments like graduations, forging careers as women, finding love, getting married, having children. Then of course, there are the hardships in life. My sister and I have been fortunate enough to share those things with each other and support one other.
Violet doesn’t know that all of those things could have been for her and Lucy. She will know what we tell her and show her about her sister.
She will know she was an amazing big sister. That on school days she would run in the house and go straight to Lucy and tell her all about her day. That when Lucy needed a clean diaper, V was right there, ready to help. That she used to sing to her in the cutest little voice “Lucy Lucy Lou”. And that Lucy loved all of this attention, love, and tenderness from her big sis.
It’s heartbreaking. But I have found a silver lining. And that extremely bright silver lining is my sister friends. My ride or die bitches, if you will.
I have a few groups of girlfriends, one dating back to grade school-high school that are so close, they are like sisters. I didn’t think I would find friends like these in college and adulthood, but I have. Friends that I met when I moved to the city, that were also creating their identities as teachers. I quickly learned that they were just as fun, trustworthy, and determined as the girlfriends I had from back home. And I am so grateful for all of these women!
These are women that can be trusted. And know how to laugh. And have respect, integrity, and grit. And know so much about me that I can’t de-friend them.
Even back in high school, there was no drama. I think that ‘s why we all got on so well. None of us really cared for drama. We were too busy setting our goals, doing what we had to do, and having a hell of a lot of fun along the way.
As the years have gone by we have kept in touch. Some of us might not see each other or speak for months, but that doesn’t matter. We simply pick up where we left off, with ease.
And so one day, this hit me. While Violet and Lucy won’t get to grow up together as sisters, I certainly hope that Violet learns to cultivate friendships that still allow her to love like they are sisters.
And now I have Lucy to thank for bringing my sister and I closer together. Not just in terms of our relationship, but also geographically. When Lucy was sick, our condo sold, and given the circumstances and a little twist of fate, we moved down the street from my sister.
My sis has always been by my side, especially for the last year and half. And now that I live down the street from her, we can be there for each other every day.
Thank you Lucy.
My name is Lou and I am a mom of two girls living outside of Chicago. I never would have imagined this, but our oldest daughter is at home and our youngest is not. She will be in our hearts forever. Lucy was an amazing soul and we continue to learn lessons from her today.