It had been a long day.
Like, the baby was up at all hours of the night, we need to go to the doctor for my sons sudden and mysterious rash, we meant to get to the park a lot earlier than we are, why are there more Lego’s and markers out on the table??, kind of day.
Motherhood is crazy making.
The same tasks that you’re sick of you will surely do over and over. Every day starts off with the best of intentions and is instead ended with a symphony of, “well, maybe tomorrow”s
We finally made it to the park. Two hours after we started trying. But the baby was cluster feeding so the plans to enjoy the late autumn sunshine and walk there were a bust because by the time we walked out the door the sun was already setting because daylight savings time is ridiculous and it’s already blustery out from that system that’s moving in. But, at least we got to play a little.
I was already worried from thinking about winter and being cooped up all day with crazy kids and grayer weather. Wondering what we were going to do with ourselves.
But, we made it to the park. Not before I almost lost it on the way out the door because as I was going around gathering hats and jackets I saw that the house had exploded again. Or maybe the blinders were off and I saw it for the mess that it really was for the first time all day (or, let’s be honest, in several days). I almost lost it because I’m tired and I’m tired of it all and I’m frustrated because I’m starting to sound like one of those, ” if you keep leaving it out, I’m just gonna throw it away” moms.
Like that actually solves anything or fixes the problem. Like that bridges the gap between my children and myself and let’s them know that I love them and that I’m understanding with them and that it really is all okay. Because that same little stuff that I tell them not to worry themselves over, like when toys break, or milk gets spilled or their art project doesn’t turn out perfect is the same kind of little stuff that visibly eats away at mommy.
And I know it’s not ok, but sometimes I just want to feel like it’s ok to give up and throw in the towel because it’s too hard. I want someone to hit “reset” for me.
We made it to the park and the wind was whipping my hair, signs of that cold front moving in. And I watched my son try to cart-wheel and I saw my daughter go down the biggest slide there was twice in a row and I distinctly remember her being too afraid to do that in the past.
Suddenly, they’re changing. Motherhood is so maddening because you sometimes want to give up or wish it all to be easier but you so desperately want to hang on to every bit of it.
And the cold front moves into my heart, sometimes out of nowhere and I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to keep it at bay. And I worry if I’m the only mother who feels like she had to wage war to enjoy all of this because my natural inclination is to not. At all.
My natural inclination is to want things to be exactly how I want them to be, at all times, in all circumstances. No uphill climb. Not forgoing a shower for three days in a row. No spending my Saturday morning to myself scrubbing the shower because that’s the only time that I can do it without them being underfoot. Joy when I’m up to my elbows in spit up and chores.
We made our way over to the baseball field behind the park and started playing a game with the ball and the bases. And they loved it. And for a few minutes, with the phone left in my pocket and my expectations of motherhood to constantly be this transcendent experience forgotten about, we just enjoyed ourselves.
Expectations are like an anchor that we can suddenly find ourselves tied to. Instead of anchoring us level and secure, it will pull us under if we aren’t careful.
Instead of riding the waves, instead of harnessing the wind when the days are good and when they don’t go so great, we sink. When the days are rough, we should either let ourselves go with it and be tossed, or we harness the momentum against itself and turn things into something better. We go further than we thought that we would get.
We don’t have to sink.
I don’t have to sink. I forget that I. Don’t. Have. To sink. And I actually have a say in it.
I can be on top of it. Not by getting it all done, but by remembering what matters. Remembering that grace is ever flowing, ever free. Tomorrow is a new day. My children are what matters. And there is no place that I would rather be.
Firm and secure. And true.
I just have to hold on.