Ugh. Do you ever have moments when you are just so human and can’t hardly stand being so? Let me explain. Today is Tuesday. Actually, that right there says a lot in my world, but it is also a Tuesday in which I am home alone with all three kids for the first time in, um, three weeks. That’s nuts, but that’s how it’s been with the gloriousness known as a visit-to-grandma’s-and-holiday-break-for-Ben-and-polar-vortex-“cold”-day-of-no-school. Three weeks ago was the last time I had to do this stay-at-home parenting gig solo. And so I got spoiled.
Of course I knew it would end and Ben would go back to work, but man, it was a wonderful break having him around to take the lead with the kids. And the going back to bed in the morning after all the early risers went down for play and breakfast at 6:30 (at least until I had to get up and nurse LT again)? Fanfreakingtastic. Totally worth the crazy dreams to be able to snooze w/ the whole upper floor of our house to myself. But again – this was temporary and I knew it.
So why does today surprise me?
I tried to turn it around from the very get-go this morning after I’d already nursed the baby and fed the kids and unloaded the dishwasher and drainboard and done the dishes and put the baby down for a nap (all by 8 a.m.) and called it a Terrific Tuesday. Let’s have a Terrific Tuesday! I said full of glee.
But then glee turns to sweat and sweat turns to semi-panic when you attempt to leave the house and realize that the 25 minutes you alloted yourself for layering and loading weren’t enough and you’re late for your playdate and all you really want to do is chat with your friends but then there’s that whole parenting thing going on where you still have to keep an eye on your kids (who aren’t listening, by the way – ever, or so it seems), and then the playdate is done and the panic comes back because you now have to relayer and reload to get them all home for lunch and naps and for the love of God, would someone please just listen?! And that is when you threaten to throw the Kindle in the trash, unless someone starts listening right this instant. Or at least that’s what you do when you are me and you are human and you’re having a human Tuesday where shit is not Terrific and you’re bummed that you haven’t won the Lottery and your spouse had to go to work today and your kids are human, too, and so you lose it. Just a little, but still – you lose it and make threats that you know you don’t mean and won’t keep and it’s just such a waste. Because now you’ve added tears and wailing to the sweat and panic of layering and loading and for what? A teachable moment, I guess, because none of us are perfect and we just have to keep extending grace to others and ourselves, even when we lose it.
After I finally got the children in the van, the panic and the sweat started to subside and HD and I started to talk. He was still crying, saying he didn’t want to tell Daddy about losing the Kindle for the day. He thought Ben would send him to Break in the Action (Time Out in our house) and I explained that Daddy wasn’t going to punish him for losing Kindle, although he might be sad or disappointed to hear about it and that he loves him anyway. That I love him anyway. And mid-sob he looked up at my eyes in the rearview mirror and asked, “Really? You do?” which about broke my ding dang heart and I replied, “Of course I do.” “Why?” “Because you are my Harrison.” And just like that he quit crying, wiped his tears and started smiling again. And from there we were able to talk about saying what you mean (duh, this was for me – of course I’m not going to throw the Kindle in the trash!) and following through (listen when Mama tells you do something. Please!!!!). And everything is OK. He gave me a kiss after lunch and he knows that I love him, even when we are mad or sad or not listening. That is what matters here.
Does it sort of suck to learn these lessons? Um, yes; especially since it feels like we have to learn them over and over and over again. Plus, all the sweating and panicking and threatening and apologizing is exhausting. But we are human, and so are our kids. If we don’t want to pretend like we are perfect (and we should not because no one is!), we shouldn’t expect our kids to be perfect either. It is just that complicated and just that simple.
So is this a Terrific Tuesday? Far from it, but it is Teachable. We can teach our kids (and they can teach us) what extending grace and unconditional love is all about. We simply must do this, as difficult and painful and sweaty as it may be. Because life is real and “Tuesdays” suck, but we owe it to ourselves and our kids to accept the less than perfect humanness in us all.