I love running my hand over the maps that have bumps and dents to represent mountains and valleys. The abyssal trenches and the Himalayas stand as minor imperfections on a fairly smooth surface. Over time I have learned to see relief maps, to turn those lines into a visual and spatial understanding of the terrain. When working on that scale and with feet on the ground, the term relief has much more meaning. The vertical distance from the lowest point to the highest has relevance and can alter the course I take.
Even more abstract, in math the difference between the greatest and least value in a data set is known as range. This value is used to understand the breadth of the data spread.
Thursday broke through these concepts in the way that parenting can blow any preconceived ideas of the world to smithereens. Thursday saw the glorious heights of the love I have for my children. They were dressed up for a Fall parade, they were eager and excited, and they were adorable in a way that joy and love resonated inside me more fully than the tones of the most perfect carillon, more than all the light in the sun. It is fullness that is more than anything else I have ever known.
Then, there was the low. My daughter had one of the worst meltdowns I have ever known, and she did it in a way that was dangerous for her, me, and my son. It was in crossing busy streets on our way home from school. I was terrified, frustrated, and angry. In the moment, I fell to less than constructive parenting. She needed support but did not get it. At least we all got home physically safe, but I am sure there is much work to be done to climb back up from that spectacular failure in parenting.
The range of this day, greater than most, was absolutely exhausting in a way that maps and math just can’t approach.