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Emily Kreiberg

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The Power of Aunty

This week has been a whole lot of unfun.

Ryan left Monday morning for a week-long business trip after two solid weeks of being at home with us.

Sadie reacted to the change by becoming incredibly clingy and anxious.

The only way she was able to sleep this entire week has been if I go to bed with her on her double-sized mattress on the floor at the same time that she does, and never leave.

If she rolls over at some point in the night and realizes she’s moved more than 3 cm from my face, she utters a little gasp of fright, rolls back onto my pillow and proceeds to puff more of her hot little breath up my nostrils.

This whole week, I’ve been bipolar and sleep-deprived (bad combo), single-parenting and 21-weeks pregnant with a toddler and working full-time.

There are some women for whom this is the norm- and to those women, I salute you.

But for me- the week has felt like more than a little too much.

I pondered seeing if I could get some sort of night-time respite aide covered by Alberta Health for some nights when Ryan is gone because I’m bipolar, but I was too tired to expand upon that thought much. I’ll ask my psychiatrist next time I see her if that’s even a thing.

(For those of you who may not know, more than 2 nights in a row without a solid 8-hour sleep can lead to mania in a bipolar person. Mania is a form of psychosis. Manias that can’t be controlled quickly and effectively by the medication I have at home become mandatory hospitalizations. For me, losing a few nights of sleep could land me away from my child and home, stuck in a psych ward, until my mania is back under control. That thought terrifies me- and I’ll do everything in my power to try and prevent another hospitalization.)

I pondered writing a post about sleep regressions and putting it up on my Facebook page to see if other mamas whose spouses work away could share some insight/tips/strategies with me, but with me going to bed at 8:00 when Sadie does, I never got around to it.

I pondered listing Sadie ‘for rent to a good home for a week’ on Kijiji or FB Marketplace, but decided my standards would be too high for evaluating who might get to spend a week with such an exquisite and wonderful child.

So I bore down and just did the thing.

I worked, I parented, I co-slept, and I counted down the minutes until my partner comes home.

But Tonight-

Tonight was Glorious.

My sister knows what I’ve been dealing with all week.

My sister has been writing report cards all week for Friday’s deadline.

My sister was busy lining up lesson plans for her substitute teacher tonight after class was over so that she can get the day off tomorrow to have a medical procedure.

Anyone who teaches knows that report card season is Hell.

Report card season on Deadline Eve, and lining up a school day for a substitute teacher on the same day is a special kind of Hell.

When Vic heard me complaining about Sadie’s sleep regression earlier this week, she said “if I work really hard at getting these reports done, I might be able to come to you on Thursday night and help you out a bit.”

As a former teacher myself, I knew this was a big offer, given that tonight is Report Card Deadline Eve.

I was grateful even for the offer, but didn’t think it would be possible.

Tonight was the Crossfield Farmer’s Market’s second night open for the season.

Sadie and I Love going to the market-

Me because I love the people, the community spirit and getting to chat with my favourite vendors, and Sadie, for the same reasons, but mainly because she is Obsessed with the Market’s ambassador, the Wiggly-Woggly-Man.

(To be fair, pretty sure it’s actually a female Dutch farmer girl with braids and a straw hat, and I’m pretty sure that’s Not the right name for the inflatable things you see at car dealerships- but the Wiggly-Woggly Man is what we’ve called it since Sadie first went to the the market at 8 weeks old and fell in love with it.)

Tonight, I texted Vic that Sadie and I would be at the market around 6 and that we hoped she could meet us there.

Sadie had been in the midst of eating a gingerbread cookie at a vendor’s table when Aunty strolled up to us.

Sadie hopped off the chair, smiled up at Aunty, and extended her hand to her.

The gesture just warmed my heart Right Up.

Here was my child who has clung to me All Week, offering her little toddler hand up to my sister instead.

Vic gladly took it, and off they went hand in hand to go admire the Wiggly Woggly Man.

For the first time all week, I had some physical freedom.

I walked around, chatted with some vendors, bought some very expensive dip, and went to find my girls.

There they were, dancing and flapping their arms wildly around the parking lot in homage to the Wiggly Woggly Man.

I LOVED IT!

We got some Vietnamese food truck meals for dinner and drove home.

While the three of us sat at my kitchen table eating our dinners, a giant crow sat atop the pine tree that looks down on our kitchen window.

Sadie pointed up at it and we all said “Hi, Nano!”

Just the three of us girls sharing a meal, and Nano showed up to join.

Vic took over Sadie’s bath time and I got another glorious 20 minutes of alone time to do some things I needed to do.

After bath time, we all sat on the couch and watched Cocomelon while I brushed Sadie’s teeth, and then Vic took Sadie to go read a bedtime story while I laid on the couch and texted some friends.

I changed into my pajamas, ready for my night shift with my little Cling-on.

Sadie showed Aunty how to flop dramatically onto her mattress like we do every night, and then she invited Aunty to come climb under the covers with us.

For a few glorious minutes, all three of us girls were snuggled up under the lime green blanket I took home from Mom’s apartment when she passed.

Three little girls, wrapped up in the lime green arms of Nano.

Vic tucked us in, closed the door and drove the 45 minutes or so home to finish her report cards.

At midnight, Harriet the Hippo (that’s me 🙂 rolled my giant baby belly stealthily off Sadie’s mattress to sneak off to the bathroom.

Sadie didn’t notice me leaving, hence why I’ve got some time, and why I’m using it to write this post at 1 am. (My tummy really hurts from the Viet food, or else I’d be sleeping!)

When I snuck back to my room an hour ago, I checked my phone to see the time and opened this text from my sister:

I opened that text and tears filled my eyes.

Happy tears.

Here I was, laying in the dark, thinking how grateful I am that my sister drove out to my faraway house on a weeknight just to help me out for a few hours, and there she is, in her own bed, writing to tell me how thankful she is to Us for helping Her out!!

And that’s why I wanted to write this post.

It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes a village to support a Mom.

Just the simple fact that Aunty took some time out of her busy week to come and be with us made Everything feel better.

I didn’t need a night nurse, I didn’t need my husband to come home- I just needed a few hours with my sister. 💕

Please comment if anything I have said really spoke to you. I quit newspapers becuase they weren't interactive. PLeASE interact. Amen!
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