Friday, January 22, 2010

"After the ground was covered with snow..."

Bad day...
My instinct was off. I think this happens to all of us sometimes...that we find ourselves running on a different wavelength than the rest of the world, and all the seemingly small incongruities defeat us and deplete us by day's end. Today was such a day. I pick my battles one by one throughout the day--motherhood is essentially hundreds of daily split-second decisions about whether something is really worth the fight--and mostly, I rely on instinct for much of it. Unfortunately, my gut was nearly always wrong today...

My daughter wanted some cereal. I'd already made her an egg. And a waffle. In my mind flashed the thought that she didn't need it, but then the other part came through. The part that told me the battle that would ensue for denying her was not worth the small cost of her Cheerios. So I gave the kid a bowl of Cheerios. And not two minutes later--whether out of boredom or demonic mischief, I know not--she had passed them on to the New Guy, who happily dumped them onto the floor. 

The battle would have taken less time than the clean up. 

Later, she wanted some juice that she found hidden on top of the fridge. I decided that the battle was worth it--that she didn't need juice today. That ended in a toddler punch to the face for me, and a lengthy time out (ending in a tear-induced nap) for her. 

I should have just given her the juice box.  

I watched the New Guy bumble near the snow shovel propped just inside the door. I started to move to point him elsewhere, but hesitated, and decided I was overreacting. I decided this just in time to watch him knock it onto his head. And in the time it took me to cross the room to rescue him, he had managed to push it away and let go so that it would drop back down again, and again, and again. Four whacks to the head with a snow shovel left him with a few lumps and a little drop of blood from his nose. 

All I had to do was cross the room a few seconds sooner. 

Exhausted, I opted not to cook dinner. For once I didn't look in the bag to check the order. I arrived home to find the fast food joint had indeed included everyone's food...except mine. 

I ended up cooking for myself anyway. 

With the kids in bed, each wearing a thousand bumps and bruises from silly slips I probably could have prevented, I surveyed my home....disaster. And as I looked back over my day's battles, I sat facing the realization that everything I had done had been all wrong. If I'd let my daughter help with the dishes, she wouldn't have pulled every book from the book cases (and I'd have actually finished them). If I had put away the folded clothes, the toddler jumping all over them and throwing them around the bedroom would never have been an issue. 

The list goes on. 

Desperate for escape, I stepped into the night for some fresh (freezing) air, and was confronted with new

All day long the snow had been falling--thick, heavy, fat snowflakes, flurrying in circles, up and down and back and forth with the wind that tossed it about. I had barely had time to notice it. 

But now, snowflakes came slowly, steadily, falling in gentle sighs to the ground. The ground, just hours before uneven and trampled by weeks of footprints, now lay even and smooth. Somewhere, from one of the apartments, came laughter. The breeze picked up enough to bring a chill that woke the skin of my bare arms. 

It was enough. Fresh air would fill the lungs. A peal of laughter would break the tension. A new night would lead to a new day. And in the morning we would make fresh footprints; we would start again without spilled milk and bloody noses, without fights over naps and cries of frustration. 

No longer trampled by today's defeats, tomorrow I would fight new battles and make new choices and enjoy the newness of a new day. 


  1. Your gift with words amazes me as I sit brooding at 2:15 in the morning, fighting my latest battle with insomnia. It really is a gift, as I'm touched by a simple post about the trials of motherhood, and a day saved by a simple deep breath. I wish we were closer together (said, of course, just weeks after we spent years living two hours apart...).

  2. Thank you for your sweet kind words, Jenny! Now you just have even more reason to come up here and see this big beautiful place. You guys are nature about a Yellowstone trip? :)


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