This week has bit the big one. Yesterday, we signed the paperwork opting out of the purchase agreement for the house that we were pursuing due to unresolvable inspection issues. It didn't go well breaking the news to the sellers, though was it a surprise? It shouldn't have been. The frustrations here are NOT that we aren't buying this house, which on paper is exactly what we have been looking for for about 4 years. It is NOT that we are not moving out of this cramped box of a place. It IS about how the blame seems to be (unfairly in our minds) directed at us and at my out-of-town-but-why-does-that-matter?-realtor dad who was helping us, and most significantly at ourselves for feeling like failures, seemingly unable to do what grown-ups are supposed to do: provide a comfortable place to live for your family. It's beyond frustrating when you feel like you work and work and work through hellish hours and guilt and separation in order to...be able to afford nothing.
It's also been a week where the kid-lets, for whatever reason, are feeding my frustrations at epic rates of return. There has been far, far too much bouncing off of the walls hyperactivity and random screaming (oldest) combined with far, far too much shrill screeching (youngest). Some day, I'll write a post on the d-e-v-o-t-i-o-n that my youngest has for me, an attachment that has never been a remote possibility with the oldest, which I mostly adore but also let it get to me (refer to the aforementioned shrill, SHRILL, screeching coupled with the "cramped box of a place" that we live in). My nerves are cracklin' this week. I actually put myself in time-out twice today. Twice. I've also said some iteration of "No, don't do that...STOP" fifty times or more as well. I'm working on that. I'm no farther along in this parenting thing than my kids are in their maturation as well. Sometimes, we help each other (When she senses that one of us is going to lose it, our oldest loudly starts singing a Daniel Tiger classic: "When you feel so mad that you want to roar, take a deep breath, and count to four...one, two, three, four!" It actually helps. Thanks, Daniel Tiger.).
However, throughout all of this mundane, everyone-has-timess-like-these, weeks, this news story has been on my mind quite a bit. Stole moments. I admit that stories like this pull at my deepest feelings of empathy and sadness more so than they did prior to having kids. It's not that I wouldn't have felt badly before having a child, but since, it is ever so easy to slip from "grieving dad loses 2 1/2-year old daughter" to "I could lose my daughter in an instant." And the reaction that this couple assumed to this absolutely unthinkable event gives me hope for humanity. Truly, these are parents who are using the hope that they had for their own child, which is now impossible, to live on in the hope of another child. They are passing many of the good things that they had assumed about their daughter's present and future on to another child, perhaps to one who does not have such security, perhaps to one who has little to look forward to. What an extraordinary story. Despite the screeching and at times constant annoyances, I have found myself consciously dawdling over a few extra hugs and have searched out a few more smiles this week, even if what preceded it was nothing that you would ever share in a parenting manual. Stolen moments are pure joy for a child who needs a parent, but they are also nothing short of a lifesaving, sanity-saving moment for a parent who needs to remember that what seems so solid and firm in her lap is not guaranteed.