You arrive at church 30 minutes late and take another 30 to lower your raised blood pressure. When you blame your husband for the family’s problem of time and he rolls his eyes because he knows the truth.
You had such plans, such plans! To write and work and finally put away the Christmas decorations. To organize the garage while you were at it and play with your kids some too. But, instead, your boys scream during lunch and scream during nap time. Both so tired they want you to suffer. And you do.
You finally get your 3-year-old to sleep in spite of his anger and frustration. You lay down with him to calm him and wake up 45 minutes later angry. There was so much you needed to do during his nap time and instead, you slept. Forget the grace of rest. Today is only about what isn’t given.
All afternoon you recoil at the nearby smell of sour milk, sniffing your family’s shirts against their skin, complaining about the reek, until you realize it’s your own sweater that needs a scrub, not theirs.
You dress your 9-month-old for bed in pajamas tagged for an 18 to 24-month-old. And you rock him in the dark and feel him growing in your arms, so fast that your heart nears bursting.
You pull out the salmon for dinner but it’s still frozen.
You realize you left the toys in the rain.
You name your failures in your mind. They name you their leader. You stare each other down. And they win the staring contest.
You think of Emily Dickinson, those words of hers you’ve repeated to yourself over dishes, how “Forever–is composed of nows,” how “…Months dissolve into further Months– / And Years–exhale in Years–” and you marvel at the truth of those words, this movement of life, these new lines around your eyes.
The frozen salmon sends your husband out for sushi while the baby rocks to sleep. He and the 3-year-old arrive with just enough time before bed for a promised dance party. Journey sings “Don’t Stop Believin'” and you practice your newest dramatic interpretation skills while your boy is running from the door to your husband, diving beneath him onto the ground. You join him, knees sliding across carpet, rug burn through your yoga pants. And Usher comes on. And you slow dance with your husband for as long as your son will allow. Until the music ends and the boys head toward tooth brushes and stories. Your 3-year-old turns back and runs to you for a hug. “Do you feel better now, Mama?” he asks. And you say, “Yes,” with all your heart. “Do you feel better?” you ask. You are both full of Yes.
There’s redemption always, even for a bad day. And you eat sushi and watch Downton Abbey and you feel grace near while your sweater flops around the washer.