Some days, they wake up bad. You feel cranky before you even open your eyes. Every breath exhaled sounds like a freight truck and makes you want to scream. On those days, I’m the farthest from present. Here’s a donut for breakfast. A cookie for lunch. It’s whatever is easiest and satiates the demands quickest. Don’t sit on my lap. I’m busy, just go play. I need some space, a quiet escape. I should have just stayed in bed.
They deserve more. Some days, I’m just not able to give it.
When those days happen, I apologize to my kids for not giving my all. I hold them extra tight when I can and hope that tomorrow will be better.
Then the next day comes and with any luck, you get out of bed with a bit more bounce. Instead of dreading what it brings, you wish your children good morning, and mean it.
On those days, I am present and aware. I play outside with my daughter. I pretend to fly to the moon with her, making silly sounds and faces, running in circles as if we’re ascending into space. We take a walk to dig for rocks without checking my watch every minute. When we come back indoors, Abby asks for markers and we sit and color together. Drawing flowers and learning letters. I don’t even care if she accidentally marks the shirt she’s wearing. After the boys come home from school, I listen intently as Jedi remarks about his day. I applaud the attempt Buzz is making. We skate across the smooth kitchen floor. I laugh instead of cry. I’m still thankful for bedtime, but I do it feeling full instead of empty.
Those days are better. They are good. I wish I knew their secret.