On Rough Days
I’ve been falling into bed exhausted lately. Mind and body completely worn out. It feels good but, well, exhausting.
We spent the day doing a lot yesterday, but there was somehow a decided quietness to it all. Errands to market and more plants purchased and dropping off the too-many toys at Salvation Army and back and forth to preschool. Naps(me included), final garden planning, digging in the dirt and sitting at our newly purchased yard sale table and chairs under the breezy tree, playing in the new water table, a last minute decision to meet Daddy for dinner at the ice cream shop(including ice cream for dinner for the little ones), words and new words and more new words repeated and learned and absorbed.
It all sounds ordinary, just a regular day. But they ate ice cream for dinner because it was just that kind of day – rough for all of us. I don’t (usually) stop in the middle of tantrums to take pictures. Meltdowns because she picks a dandelion bouquet for our neighbor and becomes hysterical because all of the seeds blow off before we can get them home. Meltdowns because I hand him a banana that I peeled and he wanted it in the peel. He melts because the walk back and forth to preschool was too much for his little legs and I should have brought a stroller and he fell and skinned his knees not just once, but three times and all he wanted was for me to pick him up. So, I did. Lugged a sobbing 2 year old the whole way home while the almost-4-year-old cried on the bike because she didn’t want me to push it and she couldn’t steer it well enough on her own.
Frustration all around as we grow. Physical demands and emotional growth and learning to ask for help and learning when to push the boundaries of not stepping in so that I can express to them my confidence that I know they can do it without letting things get to the point of complete and utter chaos and meltdowns.
Usually after a day like this(and during,) I question myself. What can I be doing differently? How am I not being patient enough or kind enough or understanding enough? How can I help them better to learn to express their feelings in ways that don’t involve screaming and hysterics?
But I am doing things. We all need to give ourselves a break sometimes. Aside from running errands, I spent a day completely devoid of doing any chores I needed to do beyond the basics of feeding my children. I napped with each one in the crook of an arm. I gave out more hugs than I can count and tried my hardest to help them to talk through tears and use words to express how they felt.
We got our usually-easy-to-put-to-bed kids down for bed late after complete hysterics over having to get feet and hands washed and scraped knees carefully cleaned and not getting to choose the bedtime book. I walked out into the backyard to pick up the toys hours after they had been discarded and saw our neighbor working in the backyard. I laughed and said, “Hey Jerry – don’t worry. They’re definitely still alive in there even thought it probably sounded like they were being murdered.” He just smiled and shook his head, “We have kids and a granddaughter, we’ve been there. We understand and never mind.”
I appreciated it more than he could know.
At the end of the day, I put my feet up. I am thankful. If this is the roughness of my life, if I don’t have worries of how to have a roof over my head or how I’m going to feed my children, I really am doing just fine.