True North.

Our son had colic. The anxiety would creep in every day around 4:45 p.m. – you knew it was coming and everything from 4:45 p.m. on was unbearable. It was happening and there was nothing you could do but wait and pray to the Jesus you saw in the burnt toast on The Today Show that morning that maybe, just maybe, last night’s bout of colic was the end of the colic. I made so many deals with the devil when praying didn’t work. Every night, like clockwork…at 6:00 p.m., it would start.

Two hours in, I would often collapse into the couch while my husband took over what came to be known as “the shit-shift”; he’d walk in circles in the dark dining room for hours.

In the morning, we were hungover from the sound of an inconsolable child. There were a few days that I dreamed of deafness as an escape. I’d shake my head visibly after the thought. “I can’t believe I just thought that.” But I did. More than once.

Parenting my son has started to feel this way again and no amount of inspirational posts about the both of us learning to BE makes any of it less challenging. What my research is telling me is that we both need to try harder and soften, but, it’s hard to do when a new kind of 4:45 p.m. is always looming.

And no one is finding miracles in their toast these days and the devil is done returning my calls.

I’m angry and hungover from an inconsolable child.

He and I are disconnected. I can feel it.

My husband sees my exasperation and tells me, “it’s a phase” and I think that perhaps we’ve both given the word phase a hell of a lot of leeway. He’s almost 7. What if this isn’t a phase? What if this is him and this is me and we are stuck waiting for our phases to turn into beautiful butterflies? Metamorphosis is proving to be a dinner guest who never arrives.

And the thing about finding inspiration is that I’m not inspired. We’re here stuck in the mud; in shit up to our ears and inspiration isn’t throwing me a rope. I want the amazing love notes mothers write to their children to climb in here with me and help us both up. I want inspiration to get muddy too.

My son is hiding under tables and gnashing his teeth, like Max and his Wild Things. He is hurting his sisters and then cocooning himself into a blanket until he tells me he can’t breathe. I can’t breathe either. This is not the metamorphosis I was hoping for.

There aren’t enough “Hang in there” cat posters in the world. And I love him so much it burns.

But…it’s 4:45 p.m. and I can feel my throat tighten.

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