It has been a long day. A frazzling kind of day. The kind in which I remind myself that it is probably the heat that is getting to me, that I am tired, that there is no reason my children need to be involved in my stress and frustrations. They just need me to play with them, to watch them, to listen to them sing silly songs – things that should be so simple, but become so difficult as the afternoon drags on and on and on.
Do we really need to play that game again?
Do I have to shuffle seven times in a row?
I have no idea what question I am answering, so how am I supposed to guess before time runs out?
My brain jumps and reels, I have blank moments when I was sure I was listening, but can’t remember a single thing that I heard. I try not to look at the clock. I try to be present. I try to breathe deeply. I try to not rush them through dinner. I try to be patient through their bedtime games, to remember that reading to them is important, taking the time to answer their questions – again, and again, and again – is important.
By the time we get to their room for prayer and hugs and “just one more song” I am straining for the finish line. I can see it, it is taunting me. But I’m not there yet.
And then we say goodnight. I give hugs and kisses. Sing (yet) another silly song. Begin, without thinking, to answer another string of never-ending questions. I’m desperate, grasping for the end. Ready to collapse. I give up with a final, “Goodnight boys, you need to go to sleep.”
I walk out, close the door, and breathe. I’ve crossed the finish line. I’ve made it.
And suddenly, I’m rejuvenated. So when the first, “Mo-om!” crosses through the door and I’m told that someone needs me, or asked where the water bottles are, or pulled into another string of questioning, I can do it. I am no longer an exhausted mom. I am a finisher. I can do anything, because I did. I made it through the day. Nothing is beyond me.