As the day wore on today I just felt like all my energy and cheer drained right out of me. By about 2:00 (when my most intense mothering attention was needed) all I wanted to do was close my bedroom door and nap. Or take a bath. But we had a report to write, a speech to prepare, spelling homework to do, a baby to wrangle, a Lily to entertain, chores, scouts at 7:00, and no dad to help with any of it. It's tax season. Last night he worked 'til after midnight. Tonight's going to be later. This is my pretend-like-i'm-a-single-mom season.
I got really grouchy this afternoon. My house was a pig pen from about 2:00-6:00. I was going to take some pictures of the crazy, but I couldn't find my phone. Caroline is getting so curious and strong and into everything! She empties all the shoes out of the shoe baskets. She empties the trash if she can reach it. She unrolls the toilet paper. She pulls all the books off the shelf. I love to watch her explore and she is so, soooo cute...but the mess factor went up a hundred fold in the last week or so as she's now living under the search and destroy operative.
At five-ish I texted Nate and told him we were getting take out. But then I didn't want to go to the effort of loading everyone up -- so I made oatmeal and toast for dinner. Lily had a bowl of Life cereal. It was just one of those afternoons. But at about 5:30 I gave myself a pep talk and decided it was not going to be one of those nights. I got out the vacuum and vacuumed the stairs (they were getting all matted down and disgusting and had been bugging me for days). I told the kids they had 3 minutes to tidy the living room and then I was coming in with the vacuum and whatever was on the floor was getting sucked up or going in the trash. Lily emptied the whole dishwasher like a darling (not typical for her, she is my most stubborn and obstinate about chores) while I helped Henry write and practice his speech. And then she came around the corner with this:
and I laughed so hard. Oh my goodness! Fat baby in a tiny buggy. It felt so good to laugh. And when I started laughing I could feel the tenseness leave -- especially for Henry. He kept looking at me and laughing and smiling with relief, like, "good, she's happy again. this is the mom i feel safe and loved with. this is the feeling i'm used to." He is a pretty sensitive boy and he really hates it when I'm on edge (didn't help that most of my frustration was directed at him for being soooooo distracted and pokey with his homework). and from there, the night went smoother and sweeter.
So I guess I logged on tonight to write this because, yea...life is crazy and hard sometimes. And hard in some ways that I can't blog about. And I often feel so compelled (desperate?) to capture the goodness and beauty of our life that I try extra hard to write on the blissful days, but I fear that in doing so I may be giving the impression that everything is always daisies and lollipops around here. It's not.
But a little laughter can go a long way to change the course of a crappy afternoon. And even though I can't always control what's happening around me, I always get to choose my response. And life is so much happier when I choose to stay calm, be kind, laugh, buck up and carry on.