As I was running along the path during my 5K portion of the Riverkeeper Triathlon on Saturday, I heard the sound of a baby screaming. I looked over and saw a mother with a double running stroller watching the race. In the stroller was a young baby, and a not very much older sibling. I instantly flashed back to the time when my two were little like that, and the crying, oh the crying. One day in particular came to mind; it was an early fall day when my youngest was around five months old, and my eldest was around two and a half. With both of them strapped into their carseats, my baby started to scream in that high pitched and soul-piercing way that tells you that she is not happy and that she wants me to do something about it NOW. As a Mother, you hear this cry and it reverberates in your stomach and you feel this maternal instinct to act; to protect. As my baby was screaming, her highly-sensitive-to-loud-noises older sister started to wail too and I felt defeated. All I could do was put my car in gear and get these two unhappy children home, fed and comforted, as quickly as I could.
So while I was running I heard this cry, and I looked over and gave the Mother a look that I was hoping showed empathy. I have been there too and it’s hard. Although this whole episode took place in just a matter of moments, it resonated with me. Kids crying does that to me. Mine cried a lot and it was really really hard.
Later in the day I was catching up on what all my Twitter and bloggy friends had been up to during the day. One of my funniest and sweetest twitter friends Sasha, @sasharambles, mentioned that she had been watching a tri earlier in the day. I wrote back to her asking if it had been Riverkeeper, because I had been there too. Her reply was:
Is that what was going on at Britannia? I actually saw a runner that looked like you! But you weren’t running, were you?
I replied that yes indeed I had been running but that I hadn’t seen her that day. So then she asked:
“Ok, then do you remember giving a sympathetic look to someone with a screaming baby along the path?”
Well imagine that. I don’t know why I didn’t recognize Sasha because I have met her several times in real life. I guess the pain of running, along with the sounds of crying were sufficiently distracting. Anyhow, Sasha and I ended up chatting online a lot more that evening and the next day too. Talking to her reminded me just how hard those first few years are. They are really really hard.
And although my girls are a lot easier now that the hands-on physical work of trying to manage babies and toddlers has passed, life is still busy and often times a slog. It is hard to stay connected with yourself and with your partner, and to feel the happiness that comes when we just relax and allow ourselves to feel it.
Which leads to the real post script part of this post, and that doing the triathlon as a relay with Tony was pure fun and happiness. When I am in this race with him, I’m not thinking about the dishes, laundry or mess at home. We are cheering each other on and we are there in the moment, together. These moments of being connected to each other are
important, and they make me feel better about the days when it feels like everyone is crying.