The past week or so I’ve been feeling like I can’t catch up with life. Between mid terms approaching and work getting busier fitting everything into 16 or 17 waking hours is tough. A few weeks ago I helped Ava complete her first research report and helped her practice reading it aloud. We finished it way before it was due but on the due date I totally forgot to send her to school with it! I didn’t realize until I was heading out the door for work that it was still hanging on the fridge. In a panic, I threw it in my bag and rushed to the school to give it to her and by then she’d already realized I forgot to send it with her. When she saw me she was relieved but her little face asking me why I forgot in the first place made me feel so bad. How do I tell her I’m only human and sometimes I’m going to make mistakes because I’m not perfect?
I’m sure as we’ve all matured we’ve realized our parents are only human and not the super-human superheroes we imagined them to be all our lives. Parents have their off days, bad days and moments of weakness just like anyone else and as Ava matures I realize I am no different, I can’t do it all perfect on a daily basis. Mishaps like the forgotten report are small in the big scheme of things but a handful of those little mishaps can make you feel defeated or frazzled. As much as I don’t want Ava to see it, she probably will. At first, this idea scared me because I feared she’d see me as this mad woman who’s always running around but then it dawned on me, if I’m optimistic about life she will be too.
By having an optimistic perspective, I will try not to complain aloud but instead use positive terms and highlight the good in the madness and not what was difficult or something I could’ve done more efficiently. When I started classes this semester I felt really bad about missing bedtime for Ava 4 out of 5 weeknights. I had to take night classes because of work. One night, my brother told me Ava was upset she hadn’t seen me and tried to facetime but I couldn’t leave class at the moment. I was upset I couldn’t talk to her but I got an idea from a book I read a few years ago “Notes on the refrigerator door”, a book about a mother and daughter who left each other notes because their schedules meant they didn’t spend much time home together.
Though Ava is only 7 she still gets the concept. Before I leave every morning I leave her a little note, a funny rhyme or a question and before she goes to bed she writes me back. I come home around 9 every night and there’s this little note waiting for me, sometimes with errors or peculiar pictures but always written with love. It may seem small or trivial but since we started writing notes back and forth she doesn’t get as upset about going to sleep without me and I think she looks forward to writing them every night.
Even though night classes and 15-hour days are not ideal, I’m determined to make it work for the bigger picture, the end goal. I want Ava to understand in the future that these crazy schedules and long hours were for the betterment of our future. She’s already seen me graduate once and she’ll see me do it again when I earn my B.A degree. Whenever I feel like I can’t keep up or I’m falling behind I remind myself that I’m still doing it and that little gestures like notes left for Ava keep the stitches of this crazy patchwork quilt of life together.