I have a confession to make:
I complain about my child.
There. I said it. It's out. I'll just wait here while you reread that, shake your head and call me a bad parent.
Done? OK, good.
When I decided to go back to school, I had to make a lot of tough decisions. I had to leave the comfort zone that I was pretty happy in, give up the home that I loved so much and hardest of all I had to swallow my pride and ask for some help by leaving F with my parents. If you can imagine tearing your heart out and leaving it behind over and over again over the course of six months, you know what I'm talking about.
When I finally - and I mean finally - got to bring him to Halifax to start daycare and live with me, it was a challenge. I had a routine, a schedule, a little life that involved a lot of missing him but not a lot of including him. I had to rethink my approach to my days, my weeks - to every minute of down time. I had to toddler-proof my life, and I was so happy to do it but so exasperated when it didn't go smoothly.
A certain celebrity was quoted as saying that he didn't understand why parents referred to things they've done as "sacrifices" because in his mind there's nothing more important than your child, and that's true... but you do still sacrifice other things to be a better parent. It doesn't mean that those other things were more important or less important than the role as parent, just that they had to be put on the backburner or forgotten altogether.
I had to sacrifice the better part of F's 3-year-old life in order to do what it would take to be a better parent, but then in the same breath I lamented how tired I was, how poorly he was behaving and how tiresome he could be sometimes... but I wouldn't change a second of it.
I wouldn't trade a single meltdown, time-out, temper tantrum, spilled drink or fingerprint on my newly cleaned windows because I know how many people would do anything to have that.
So tonight, as I wandered down the hall in the dark I found myself thanking the universe that I hadn't tripped over anything but longing to step on the dinky cars I normally curse, or to feel a few cracker crumbs under my bare feet because it would mean that F was sleeping soundly a room away.
And I hope that next week after washing the living room window 32 times, pleading with him to put his pants back on, tripping over stuffed animals and finding boogers in my hair that I remember just how empty this apartment feels without him.