This photo was taken at my brother's wedding, 10 years ago this summer. In it, I'm marching away from what turned into a nightmarish wedding photo session with my screaming son Isaac clutched under my arm.
While this picture makes me laugh now, when I first saw it I cringed and packed it away. I felt like it represented everything that was wrong about me as a mother.
I was 25 and pregnant with my third in what has to rank up there as one of the world's most poorly-timed pregnancies. My life was pretty much a mess, and it showed in my mothering.
I was the mum who always got the kids to preschool after circle time had started. I was the mum who forgot the lunches. I was the mum who forgot the school excursion permission form… and the fact that I was supposed to be chaperoning.
I was also the mum of Isaac, who was chubby, adorable, intelligent… and hell on wheels. Take him to a store, and Isaac would bolt down the aisle, gone before I could even shout his name. Seat him at a desk, and Isaac would try to climb on top of it. Ask him to do something, and Isaac would do the opposite. Once I spanked him in sheer desperation, and he laughed in my face.
Teachers told me that Isaac was smart, but disruptive. A handful. Couldn't sit still. None of this came as a surprise to me. I spent my days in anxiety over what Isaac would do next. If I took him to a friend's house, would he break something, pull the cat's tail? If I took him to the park, would he bowl over a smaller child or refuse to leave when it was time? If I asked him to clean up his toys, would he throw them instead?