This morning was a train wreck.
Though I know better, I couldn’t drag myself out from under our flannel sheets until just minutes before your dad had to leave for work. When I heard him putting shoes on, I knew things were about to get real.
I jumped out of bed and heard Elsa stirring. My shower was over all too soon, and as I dried off, I heard her squawking like the hungry baby bird she is. I started nursing her as your dad walked out the door, and there I was stuck. My stomach growling, not a drop of coffee in me, and you kept asking me play!color!blocks!books!cheerios! over and over again for the next half hour while she ate.
I had that headache again. That kind that sits just behind your eyes.
You were whiny, on the fifth day of a nasty cold, and cried like a tortured prisoner every time I wiped your nose. The tripped over toys, your unending underfootness. I was simply unprepared to be a mom today, crabby at the gray skies and the snow falling so coldly this late in March.
By 11 a.m., it was time to try something new. We had to get out. All the bundling up took us over twenty minutes, but we finally stepped out the back door. You ran for our back gate like that released prisoner, and I, with Elsa heavy in the Moby wrap, chased after you.
I stooped to hold your hand while crossing the street. I took deep breaths, trying to inhale patience, while you stopped every 3 feet to pick up a “noball” from the icy banks on the side of the sidewalk.
But then, this.
I turn around, ready to instruct you to keep going! let’s keep walking! But you are stopped short. The snow has melted part of the snowbank away, and there is maybe 8 inches of muddy, leafy yellowed grass next to the sidewalk. And you are in awe.
I ask you, “Do you want to walk on the grass?”
And you jump onto it, literally yelling “Yay!” like in some made-for-TV movie. You are beyond excited as you stomp on the grass, until it runs out into icy sidewalk again. Ten steps later there is another patch, then another. And at each one, you immediately jump off the sidewalk and onto that grass, excitedly clapping your mittened hands.
Perhaps some part of your little subconscious remembers spring and knows that these are the baby steps into the changing of seasons, these infrequent spaces where the snow has melted. Perhaps not. But either way, you are unfazed by the sidewalk’s icy puddles, and the 2-foot graying snowbanks on either side. What you see is the grass.
And I am reminded, again, that it’s all in what we choose to look at. The toys scattered over every square inch of our house? That is a kind of wealth that most in the world do not know. The dirty dishes endlessly piling up in the sink? We are fed. Those moments when both kids are crying and needing more of me than there is? I have kids, two of them, when there was once a time I wasn’t sure if I would have any.
And so, I slow down our pace, and we walk an extra block out of the way, because you are overjoyed. Your boots are covered in mud, and there is an endless stream coming out of your nose, but you are red-cheeked and smiling.
The rest of this day will not be a train wreck, for I refuse to see it that way.