Monday, 9:38 pm
It’s raining outside. The kids are finally asleep, Zach’s working late, and I’m wandering in that space between succumbing to sleep and not willing to call it a day just yet.
My laptop broke a few weeks ago. Then, while I was transferring a load of laundry from the washer to the dryer one recent afternoon, it occurred to me that the boys were being entirely too quiet for anything innocent to be going on. I found them in my bathroom. They had confiscated my kindle and were holding it under a running stream of water from the spout of the tub. Sitting at my desktop right now would feel too official, what with the sleeping house and the rain tapping on windows, so tonight I am huddled under the blankets on my bed with a notebook and pen, going at this the old school way.
I am writing to you, Sunday, because I have a bone to pick with you.
You began gloriously, gently nudging me from sleep at an early hour so I could write, offering me a hot cup of coffee and a mind clear and focused. Nearly two hours sped by, my fingers tapping on the keyboard, only pausing for sips of coffee, until the whirlwind of littles fluttered downstairs, and I joined them. I sipped on more coffee and played with my trio of babes in sunlight warming wood floors while Zach made pancakes. By mid-morning, my feet were hitting the pavement. I set out with a modest goal in mind and ended up running the farthest and fastest I’ve run since the boys were born.
As I let the water run over my muscles in my post-run shower, I started writing a post in my head. I wanted to address the minor successes we too often dismiss in the wake of what we perceive as failures. I wanted to address this because right before I had this idea, I caught myself thinking, “Half the day is over and what have I done? I wrote and I ran. Me, me, me.”
I was taking care of my mind and my body, so why was I feeling guilty for spending the first half of my day nurturing myself? I had every right to view these goals (write more, run farther) as successes.
Not success in the name of sacrifice.
Sure, you can hunker down at your computer for the morning, but you’re going to miss the way the sunlight pours over the three of them as they sprawl on the floor constructing elaborate train tracks only to tear them down and rebuild again.
Not success with strings attached.
You can go for that long run as long as you make up for it with extra books at bedtime.
It was time, I thought, for us (me) to cut ourselves some slack. It’s taken me a while to admit that I love my children best when I take out time to care for myself.
Oh, Sunday, you courted me like a new lover, then abandoned me, leaving me raw and full of sorrow after pent-up emotions were released in daggers that I knew would cut deeply even as I let them fly from my lips.
There is only one person in this world who can call me a sister, and I failed him. I snapped. I said things I shouldn’t have. The words came from a place of fear and grief, but they were dressed as spiteless wolves full on pride.
The smooth afternoon I had planned — Mia would be at a birthday party, the boys would be napping, Zach would be watching football, and I would settle in for a second writing session — was now punctured by the sharp edges of anger and dull thrumming of heartache. I couldn’t recover and Sunday was lost to me.
I picked Mia up from her friend’s birthday party. Her hair was sprayed pink and blue and dusted with glitter, her eyelids brushed with sea foam green shadow, her lips painted sticky pink. I hid my red-rimmed eyes behind sunglasses and ooh-ed and ahh-ed over the get-up that looked more drag queen than sparkly mermaid.
“Look at you,” I said. “I love it.”
And we’re back to small successes.