I wrote this post a week ago.
This day could not figure out what it wanted. For a while things were great. The sister missionaries from our church stopped by and chatted and shared this amazing Christmas video with me and Wanda. Incidentally, Wanda cursed them in her prayer tonight by praying that they’d “grow big and strong” and “have great travels.” So she wants them to grow fat and leave, basically. Sad.
We got some stuff done. Men were no longer excavating my crawlspace and hauling hundreds of pounds of rock through my entire house to lower through a tiny hole in my hall closet. That was yesterday.
It was cold but not freezing. There was snow on the ground but not the roads. This strange yellow orb was sending magical light rays down on us from the sky. I spent some fun time chatting with a friend today.
And then things sort of unraveled. There is just this sort of brain-slamming chaos that happens sometimes in the hour after everyone gets home from school. We need snacks and we need to share the stories from our day and everyone wants to hear about everyone else’s day while simultaneously telling about their own day and if we are five-years-old, we need to yell, “MOM! MOM! MOM!” into the wind every few minutes in hopes that anyone will pay attention to us ever.
If it’s a day like today, people lose their homework and procrastinate the rest and they ask you for some wood and a saw to make a quick catapult… for science. Eventually you decide you have to skip Cub Scouts because the homework is too big and too deep and too wide. And everyone cries. Because Cub Scouts is where the joy lives.
And through the tears and the mania and the MOM! MOM! MOM!-ing, you work to make dinner for your family and the family up the street whose mom is sick, only to get a text telling you that the dinner didn’t come soon enough so the whole family has already left for their evening activities and you KNEW you should have asked what time they needed dinner but you neglected to ask and you just want to dump the coconut chicken curry and naan bread out in the snow.
And then you realize that your problems are actually quite small and that you should be grateful that you have lovely children and you’re all in good health and your marriage is going strong and your careers are going well. You realize these things, but you don’t feel better. You just feel guilty because you shouldn’t be frustrated, but in that moment the day just really REALLY eats rocks.
That was my day today. And when Dan got home from work, I stood there in my un-earned stretchy pants. No yoga happened today, even though I was dressed up for it in case it somehow snuck up and attacked me from behind. And I unloaded on him about each and every straw that had contributed to my camel’s back injury. He listened. And then he left for his band rehearsal.
My internal Magic 8 Ball told me that its sources said no good would come of this night. But its sources were wrong.
Laylee, who had been madly reading her scriptures all night in an attempt to achieve a very aggressive, bribery-induced study goal emerged from her reading with a happy glow about her. And she made peace in our house.
She listened to Wanda while I worked with Magoo. Then I took Wanda up to bed and when I came down, Laylee was tenderly coaching Magoo through a written assignment. There is such a thing as coaching someone in a way that lets them know exactly how big of a moron they are with sighs and eye rolls and repeated reminders of your own personal brilliance in comparisson to their pitiful nine-year-old pea brain. This was not that. This was kind, gentle, encouraging study help, the kind of study help parenting dreams are made of.
For a second, I considered relieving her and taking over homework helper duty. Then I listened to them for a minute more and chose to sneak away and let the magic happen.
“That’s a great sentence, Buddy, but you already started one with that word in this paragraph. How could you say it a little differently? Perfect!”
When they had finished, Magoo proudly showed me the paper.
“I wrote this whole thing myself,” he beamed, “With a little help from Laylee.”
And she stood behind him grinning and giving me a thumbs up. Um? Angel choirs! If I could bottle that moment and uncork it next week when angel choirs are far far from my thoughts as I look at the way those two interact, I would shave my head in payment.
I apologized to the kids because, oh, yeah, I forgot to mention earlier, I had snapped at and yelled at and snapped at them again earlier in the night.
Laylee, still bearing a halo, smiled and said, “Of course you did. Anyone would. Your day was really stressful, mom.” WHA?
I asked Laylee if she thought her time reading the scriptures had made a difference in how she treated everyone tonight and her eyes got really big with understanding. “Yeah… I really think it did!”
Deal. Sealed. I love watching my kids choose things that make them happy.
And to think, only a few hours earlier my scalp had been going numb at the thought of all we had to do and the frustration, stress and chaos of my home. Parenting is a bipolar realm.