The story of today looks, on the outside, like any other day. Breakfast with Squish in my lap. He ignores his own bowl and spoon in favor of mine. Manchild asks, again, for help finding the blocks he needs to build his dinosaur. We get dressed, find shoes, start making dinner at 9:00 in the morning. There is playgroup with friends, balloons, snacks, finger painting with pudding. On the way home, everything becomes a contest: whoever gets to the corner, the steps, the door first, wins. Then lunch, nap, more dinner prep, swimming lessons.
There are no heroes or villains, no moments of swelling music, no defining victories of good over evil. The events lack that dramatic edge — yes, even the one where Manchild “swam” the width of the pool was tempered in its intensity by the teacher pulling him along, steering him in the right direction, keeping him on target. And yet, each task felt, to me, like a possible turning point. Would this be the one that helped me get back on my game? Or this one? Or this one? I struggled to find my groove all day long.
The peanut butter and honey lunch, the story before naptime and the routine questions (“Do you want me to carry you to your crib? Or do you want to walk?” “I walk!”), the endless search for the right blocks for Manchild’s visionary structure are usually comforting — amusingly so. But not today. Today, it didn’t click. The questions were hollow, the hands-and-knees searches for blocks just motions. We ran to catch the lights as we always do, wondering if we’ll get to cross or have to wait, but my heart wasn’t in it. I couldn’t make it genuine. I couldn’t be the contented, adoring mom who gets that her life is mundane and embraces it with gusto, just for the fun of playing that part. Which is a part I truly do embrace. Because, actually, it is fun.
I thought maybe I should enjoy the funk instead. Change back into my pjs. Eat Halloween candy and watch whatever on Hulu. Or let the boys veg out while I listened to podcasts and puttered around the apartment. I was planning my course on the way home from swimming lessons when we stopped at a bakery and got a loaf of bread. It was warm. We were half a block from home. And I saw my chance to be spontaneous. There was no time to waste. I tore off chunks of bread and gave them to the boys to eat as we walked home. Uncharacteristic of me? Yes. But not of the fun, adoring domestic goddess I like to play on the screen inside my brain. And just like that, things shifted. Not necessarily into the groove, but toward it.
So despite its mundane trappings, its lack of drama, its formulaic nature, the story of today is one of triumph and testing, of searching and finding, and of remembering that sometimes acting is the best way to make something real.