Yesterday did not start out well. The girls were tired when I got them up -- my fault really. I'd let them stay late at the park the evening before, which pushed back bath and bedtime routines. Rae had been whiny and obtructionist, fighting me every step of the way through bath and bed. I had hoped that the morning would be better, that sleep would solve some of the behaviour. But no. Tired and cranky, Leah was in tears, and nothing could fix Rachel's bad mood. We argued all through breakfast, she refused to wear the clothes I'd put out for her, and bitched about what I was putting in her lunchbox. I was distracted, trying to keep mental hold of the million things at work and home that I have to keep track of. Leah reminded me about soccer practice, and the fact that she needed new cleats, which I'd forgotten.
So, I was in a bad mood, the girls were in bad moods, and no one was behaving well. Then the girls started in on each other, and I snapped. I was slamming cupboard doors and yelling, and generally not behaving like a calm, rational adult. Everything was just too much. The house was a mess, we were running late, the gas tank on the car was almost empty, we were out of cat food, the clothes dryer was still broken, I had a meeting at work that I wasn't prepared for, everything was just terrible and overwhelming and just. too. much.
I took a deep breath in preparation for continuing to argue (a pointless, stupid argument) with Leah, when a thought crept in past all the tumult -- I bet Tori Stafford's mother would give anything to be having an argument with her daughter right now in a messy house with a broken dryer.
I stopped yelling and apologised. We waited while Rae went and chose a new outfit for school. And when I dropped them at daycare to catch the school bus, we parted with the usual hugs and kisses. All you need is some perspective to see what's really important, and what isn't. It's heartbreaking that sometimes that perspective comes at such a great cost.
(8-year-old Victoria Stafford disappeared on her way home from school in Woodstock, Ontario, on April 8. Surveillance camera footage showed her walking away with a young woman. Two days ago, a 28-year-old man and an 18-year-old woman were charged with her abduction and murder. Police are still looking for her remains.)