Today was a bit of a doozy, wasn't it?
There were tears and foot stomping, furrowed brows and toys thrown across the room. You yelled at each other and told on each other, hit each other and blamed each other. You forgot to say please and thank you, even when I bought you a treat. I might have muttered something about how it was the last time I would buy you a treat, which we all knew was a lie.
I put myself in a time-out, thinking if I could just have a few minutes alone, we might be able to turn this ship around. But the three of you stood banging on my locked bedroom door, trying to tell me about the wrongs the others had done to you. The ship didn't get turned around, not in those few minutes, anyway.
And then there was the incident at the coffee shop. It was meant to be a fun outing, a little date. But they were out of all of their baked goods--cookies, muffins, scones, everything. So we bought steamers. One of you spilled yours within the first three minutes. Spills happen. I get it. One of you declared after two sips that you didn't like it. And one of you acted like it was my fault that they didn't have any baking for you to eat. I promised you that we would get a snack at home. But it did nothing to assuage your frustration.
So, I announced that we were done, that we would take our drinks and go. And one of you decided it was a good time to yell that you didn't want to leave. And you just kept yelling as you followed a few steps behind me while we walked through the outdoor seating, past all of the people enjoying their coffee and quiet conversation. You yelled as I did the walk of shame, past the curious glances of those who didn't want to stare. I wanted to crawl into a hole. All you wanted was a cookie. I had neither a hole nor a cookie, so I just kept walking.
I'm not sure how we made it through today. Well, actually, I think I survived by drinking coffee, eating chocolate chips when none of you were looking, taking lots of deep breaths, and leaving a long, pathetic voicemail on a friend's phone.
In some ways, we failed each other today. We didn't treat each other with as much kindness or grace or patience as we could have. Sometimes I'm not the mom I wish I was. Sometimes you don't act the way I wish you would. Sometimes we let each other down.
But in other ways, we did exactly what families are supposed to do: we stuck it out. We kept trying. We didn't give up on each other, even though we wanted to, even though it would have been easier to turn on a long movie and stop talking to each other (and some days, that's the best we can do if we want to make it to bedtime).
Tomorrow we will wake into a new day, a fresh start. We will try again--and, probably, at some point during the day, we will fail again. But we will keep going. And we will learn together how to love each other better. We will apologize and forgive and sing and dance and laugh. We will step on each other's toes, we will grumble and complain, but we will also delight and enjoy. We will discover the wonder of new accomplishments. We will read stories and watch the ants go marching across the sidewalk. We'll forget our manners and remember them again. You'll complain that you don't like what I've made for dinner, and I'll remind you that you are welcome to begin cooking for us whenever you'd like. We'll bump into each other's rough edges, but we'll also smooth them out.
I'll cheer for each of you when you ride your bikes, I'll kiss your scraped up knees, and I'll take all of the hugs you're willing to give. I promise, even on the hard days, to do everything I can to protect you, to care for you, to raise you to be kind and generous and loving.
And on days like this one, I'll try to remember to take deep breaths, to find little things to laugh about, and to give thanks for the gifts that each of you are. When bedtime comes, and I am ready to turn off your light, shut the door, and collapse, but you want a few minutes of snuggles, I'll try to remember that in a few years, you likely won't want my snuggles. So I will shuffle back across your bedroom floor, take a turn in each of your beds, and feel your little bodies snuggle up to mine. We'll snuggle until you fall asleep, and I'll kiss your foreheads and wonder why the day was so hard.