Today something happened which was an incredible reflection point for me. We were due to head out for a family morning to a farm, all geared and hyped up; then 10 minutes into the journey the car starting shuddering and spluttering. Uh oh bad parenting moment on the horizon…
We pulled up on the tiny verge on the dual carriage way. The grey September skies loomed over us in Northern England, where we were staying. I looked for a wobble in the toddlers face. We called the AA man.
Before entering this crazy world called parenthood, my response probably would have been a lot of eye rolling, tutting, whinging and moaning – yes, I probably would have acted like a big sulking child, I’m not proud to say. But no! I had a very head strong toddler in the backseat whose hopes had just been massively dashed and I needed to head off an armageddon as her morning slowly unravelled.
We made everything into an adventure – a nature scavenger hunt along the side path (steering clear of the syringes I worryingly spotted on the way); a trek up to the motorway bridge with large sections of panels missing where we could car spot as the insanely unseasonal September wind whipped our cheeks red; a bumble into the fields where we (thank the Lord!!) found some friendly horses; a ridiculously extended version of Simon Says while the AA man came not within the hour, but almost two hours later.
I looked round at my little family, which was not usually even close to being so harmonious and wondered how being dealt a rather shit hand could have morphed into actually a very enjoyable morning? Was this really my own meltdown-prone 2 year old beaming with happiness on the side of the road while we were freezing our asses off looking like lunatics? Yes, it really was.
It certainly wasn’t anything like this…
…but it taught me, as parents we develop an amazing knack for making the best out of bad situations. There is no time for moaning. Or feeling sorry for ourselves. And what an amazing knack it is. These are the surprisingly golden moments of parenthood.