Monday, September 17, 2012

Rowan's meltdown tonight

It is so hard being a parent sometimes. And I think it's hardest when your little ones are hurting, and you can't take it away and bear it yourself. That's how I felt tonight.

Leading up to Rowan's bedtime, she started getting, for lack of a better word, fussy. She was whimpering, crying about little things, or even nothing, scared of everything. It was weird, but it's also becoming more common. Finally she was getting into bed, on the verge of tears, and then she grabbed a picture of Aimee and clutched it and started sobbing. Her little face had so much pain on it, more than I've ever seen before. And she kept holding the picture, sometimes looking at it ad sometimes holding to the side of her face, and she cried and cried. And I held her and stroked her hair and kissed her teary cheeks, but I couldn't really make her feel any better. It was so hard.

It went on for several minutes before she finally started to calm down a bit, and I continued to just hold her, occasionally telling her I was sorry her mommy was gone, and that I missed her too. I so badly wanted to promise her I'd always be there for her, but I know I can't make that promise, because I know that some day, out of the blue, something might happen to me as well. I don't want Rowan to be filled with anger at me for breaking that promise.
This is a picture Rowan recently
drew of her and Aimee. Rowan
is in the pink (big surprise).

Like I said, this is becoming more common for her, although tonight's meltdown was the worst yet. I did re-start her visits with a childhood grief counselor, and I think we'll continue with those visits again for some time. It's amazing in a way, because Aimee has now already been gone for nearly a quarter of Rowan's life, but that bond between mother and child is so strong, that I know that decades from now, Rowan will still have moments where she wishes her mother was still alive.

Lately I've been having thoughts like maybe I don't want to get remarried again, at least not for a long time. I think to myself, "I got this. I can raise Rowan without anyone's help." And the fact is I could. I mean c'mon, LOTS of single parents raise kids and do it well. Even dads. It's not like I'm a pioneer here. And when I think about how hard it might be to find someone that fits in all the ways we need them to in this family, it feels daunting, and I think "To hell with it, I'll do it myself."

But then Rowan has a night like this, and I think that even though she will ALWAYS miss her mommy, it would be great for her of she had someone in that role she could look up to, and be comforted by, and then I completely turn around and feel like I want to go out right now and start interviewing candidates like I'm hiring for a job or something.

I know, I'm a bit insane at time. Loving your child does that to you. A healthy dose of loneliness doesn't help.

At the point I do date again (I haven't yet), I hope to be able to push all of this out of my head, and just get to know the women I'm out with. As badly as I want Rowan to have a mother at times like this - and I won't lie to you, I sure wouldn't mind having someone in my life again as well - I know full well the cost of getting this wrong is far too high for the benefit of just having 'someone'  here. I want Rowan to have the 'right' mom, and for me, the 'right' wife. And of course, I want to be a great husband and continue trying to be a great father.

And as we go, I'll keep holding Rowan and wishing I could take the pain away that seems so big for such a little girl to have to bear.


  1. What if there was a way to give Rowan that female role without you finding a life partner yet. What if your female friends could step in and be "big sisters" to Rowan until you were ready to bring that special person into both of your lives. It would be slow at first, but then could be a normal thing where once a week or once a month Rowan would have a "Girl Day". Shopping, tea parties, just being a girl. Even though you are doing a FABULOUS job, sometimes girls just wanna have fun. I have no idea of the pain you both are going through, but know I'd be more than happy to help in anyway I could. This is me reaching out. One friend to another, for you will also have us here to help.


    1. Thanks so much for this incredibly sweet suggestion/offer, Kate! It's a really nice idea, and I'll keep it in mind as an option that Rowan might want or need at some point. She DOES have one person that sort of fills that role, her current sitter, whom she LOVES. The sitter, who also lost her mother during her childhood, is great with Rowan and they really do have a great time together. But I also know that having others who are willing and capable to step in is important.

  2. Hi Pat,

    You don't know me (though we have mutual 30 Hour Famine friends ;) ), but I check your blog from time to time, and this one struck a chord in me today. I love your honest writing, your honest pain, questions, stories, etc. I read sometimes and just cry to myself. It serves as an incredible reminder to keep my loves incredibly close, as they can be taken away at any moment.

    I wish very badly that we could all take on some of the pain and hurt you are feeling...divide it evenly among ourselves so it's not all on you and little Rowan.

    I have kept you in my prayers for 9 months, and I will continue to do so!


    1. Hilary, I really love the commnst you leave. You're really thoughtful and caring at heart, at least form what I can see in your comments.

      The good news is that these waves she goes through don't last too long. She rebounded a few days after this post, and has been doing pretty well for the last several weeks. But I also know it's only amatter of time before she has another seaso where she struggles. It's all part of the process.

      Thank you so much for the continued prayers. I so appreciate it, and I tell Rowan when I'm putting her to bed and night and we're saying OUR prayers that there are people out there praying for her and for us. She always looks just a little surprised and asks me who is praying for us. I tell her lots of pople, more than I even know. But God hears them all and is looking out for us.

      Thanks for being one of those people who's praying.

  3. Pat, as a 100% single mom since Day 1, I try not to tell myself "Well, there are single parents raising three or five kids on their own" because my experience is MY experience. For me, when I say that to myself, it minimizes my feelings. It is HARD being a single parent with one child or ten children.


    1. Thanks for this great reminder, Katherine. I appreciate it.