Note to self

Dear Kelly,

You've known your son for more than nine (long) years. You sat in the labor and delivery waiting room for the 48 hours he had to stay for observation just so that you could feed him every four hours. You rocked and patted and cried for the first 18 hours he was home and you couldn't get him to sleep. You rubbed his little over-cooked body with baby oil three times per day until all gray, peeling skin sloughed off and he was the pink cherub you expected.

And those were just the first three days. In the years that have passed since those first parenthood moments, you've learned every square inch of this child. You know he prefers blue to green and red to blue. You know he'll eat a cheese stick but only if you take a bite first. You know the only way to convince him to do anything quickly is to time him because doing it even a second faster than last time is all the motivation he needs. You know you'll have to hold his hand and hug him against you before enters any new situation for the first time. You know to hang back, but stay within view, until he flashes you the thumbs up that is the unspoken signal that you are allowed to leave.

You know he likes to sleep in long sleeves and pants. You know he loves being the first person up in the morning and hopes to one day be the last one in the bed at night. You know he hates wearing shorts but loves a colorful "sleeveless" shirt that you must never call a tank top. You know he would pay cash money to sleep in the bed between you and his dad every night and that sometimes he truly wishes he was an only child.

You know him through and through. So why didn't you know he'd have a meltdown at the orthodontist's office? Why didn't you plan for it as painstakingly and thoroughly as you do every doctor's appointment? Why did you ask him to do his homework in the waiting room, push him to focus on the pages rather than the children playing around him, nudge for him to go back with the assistant alone when the time came for impressions?

You knew better. At each and every step, you felt him spiraling further out of control. The tooth sucking and lip smacking, the eye rolling, the jerking away, the sudden flare of frustration disguised as anger. You saw it all and yet you tried to take the "easy" way out. You wanted to sit quietly and read your book. You wanted to take a mental break from adult stuff that he can't begin to understand and in doing so, you pushed your son off the figurative cliff.

And meltdown he did. Full on storming off into the parking lot right as it was time to speak to the orthodontist, stomping and jerking when you forced him back into the building, talking back and arguing during the sit-down, anger anger anger. So much anger that the orthodontist asked if perhaps you should come back alone. So much negative emotion that it stained the entire evening and left him crying and disappointed by bedtime, and your mental health was hanging on by a string.

I'm writing you this note to remind you that you knew all along and you chose the wrong path. Let's make that the last time, okay? It wasn't worth it and you both suffered. But today's a new day. Grab onto it and make it count for both of you. But before you do anything else, tell that boy you're sorry and that you'll do it better next time.

Your hindsight


  • CaneWife

    Hugs. That sounds like a rough day. I'm so sorry.

  • Cheri

    and there is no such thing as a perfect parent, so don't beat yourself up for making a mistake either! Hope today is better.

  • Penny Williams

    we all need to take the eay route sometimes, especially when we have special needs kids who require so much more of us. and remember, in hindsight you can see the meltdown coming. at the time you didn't see it coming or you would have taken action. for taking action if what you do.

  • Anonymous

    You both had a rough day. It's okay. There is no way to know before a tantrum starts 100% of the time. Or even half of the time. You're a good mom.

  • Sunny

    Thanks for the post. It's always nice to know that others go through the same sort of stuff. I can be hard on myself for the same reasons that you are, but I also have to tell myself sometimes, "You are human!! You get exhausted, you get frustrated, you need some peace. It's okay."

  • Jennifer James Photography

    This made me tear up simply because I had the same exact emotions last weeks when I made my four year old suffer through a school tour at 6 pm when I knew he was tired and had ingested candy (which is totally off his diet). I knew better to push it, but I wanted to go. So I did it anyways, and we both paid for it. Unfortunately, he should not have. We should have stayed home and enjoyed the remainder of the evening and followed our typical routine. But nooooo.....I had to push it. So you are not alone. We are not alone.

  • Draft Queen

    It sucks when we know better and yet for some reason that knowledge escapes us.

    Rough day. We all have them.

    Good thing it was one day and you have the rest to do better!

  • Anonymous

    Good for you for owning your part! It will make all the difference next time!

  • Janine

    Feeling this way stinks, for sure...but it's not forever, it's just for now. Don't dwell, and don't live in rear-view mirror mode. You can remember to choose a different path next time without carrying the burden of guilt from the past. Trying to drive while staring and focused on the rear-view mirror just slows you down, and could even cause an emotional 'crash'. You're a great mom...and hey, as I say on crummy mommy days, 'they'll have to have something to tell their therapist!' lol...Tomorrow is fresh, with no mistakes!

  • Moore Minutes

    Kelly, I don't get around to blogs much lately but you were in my thoughts today. <3

    I know I've said this before but you are an outstanding writer! Your words always pull me in and make me FEEL.

    Anyways, you're such a good MOM and your day at the ortho sounded no fun for sure. :(

  • Moore Minutes

    Also, I just saw I'm not a follower??? I'm not? lol...I always thought I was...

  • Kathy

    Good for you for owning your part! It will make all the difference next time!

  • ericka @ alabaster cow

    hi from the lbs! i needed this post - so many things hindsight teaches me way too late!

  • Cheryl

    This post shows what a great mom you are. I hope the next morning was a million times better.

  • Kelly Miller

    Y'all make my heart happy. I try not to dwell on the mistakes (I make them, he makes them, we make them, and the world keeps turning). That was a doozy of a day ... and then it was over. I just like to remind myself sometimes that I'm not powerless and that sometimes what seems "hard" is actually the easiest way.

    Thanks for all the support! It's so nice to know I'm not in it alone.

  • TKW

    Hoo-boy. I've been there. And doesn't it SUCK when you realize that you can't blame anybody but yourself? Argh!

    Sending you hugs and a big cocktail.

  • Jami

    You know, what strikes me the most about this post is that you wrote it at all. How great is that? It is such a good thing to be able to step back and analyze the situation. Hopefully, you will both do better next time, but you are so right, this won't be the last mistake, but we pick up, we keep going. Maybe we have a drink or two. :)

  • amber_mtmc

    Even though we know our children, sometimes we do just want the easy way out! I know I have done this many, many times.

    This does not make you a bad mommy. You are awesome for recognizing this!

  • Unknown

    I don't know how many parents should/could write this letter on any given day, but how many have the knowledge and courage to see their part in what is happening with their children. What an amazing parent you must be. How many times have I sat in a doctors office, frustrated because I just wanted to read a stupid article in a stupid magazine?

  • The Drama Mama

    Ugh. I absolutely HATE taking Jellybean to the dentist. It's always a no-win situation. They want to fill a cavity, she refuses...blah. I want to take the easy way out so often too. Even when I know the easy way out really isn't in ANYONE'S best interest. There are days when we just need that extra moment. I always regret taking it too. Can you send me a reminder note, too?!? ;)

  • Kelly Miller

    @Jami & SadiesMom -- Yes, I just wanted to relax for one stupid minute and read my book and be like the other moms in the room. I learned my lesson though!

    @DM - We haven't had to deal with a cavity yet, but I'm planning to slip us all a Valium when he has to sit in that chair to get his braces on.

  • Unknown

    Oh. We have days like that sometimes too. So not my favorite! Praying that everyone is happy as a lark at this time : )

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