I am abruptly woken up by the sound of the cell phone alarm buzzing on my night stand. Already? I think to myself. I hit snooze and try to fall back asleep, but the day that lays before me is full of responsibilities that I would rather not face. Crap. I don't want to do this again, I think, as I toss and turn and wrestle with the idea of just disappearing for a day. Disappearing isn't a reality and so I fight my way out from under the covers and the heaviness that weighs me down physically and emotionally. My body aches and my head hurts from too many days of too much doing and not nearly enough resting. Everyone else first. Me last. The mom life, right?
I step into the kitchen and brew my coffee in hopes of being able to sit down and enjoy it without interruption. It just might be my favorite part of the day. Before I can take my first sip, child number one pops in and starts talking. He doesn't stop either. He is my constant talker and sometimes I wonder why he can't just take a breather. In between sips of my coffee, I am snapped out of my self-pity and into the beauty of my chatty son. He is all that is good with the world. Kind, funny, innocent, loving. I love, love, love you mom, he says as he hugs me so tightly that I never want him to let go.
My heart warms. This is what it is all about.
The day unfolds and I continue to do exactly what is expected of me. I get the kids ready and pack lunches. I send them off to school with a hug, a smile and words of inspiration for the day: be kind to others, I say as they head out of the car and walk towards school, all smiles and full of energy.
My next stop is work. The heaviness returns. My smile is forced and my thoughts become more and more negative. I go through the motions, but I am distracted.
Are you okay, my coworker asks?
I guess my face is sending a signal of distress. I am thinking about money. I know now is not the time or the place, but I can't stop stressing over my current financial situation. There isn't enough money and Nora has a birthday party coming up, the oil tank is empty, and my car needs new brakes. I am trying to solve a math equation that does not have a solution: How can I turn $500 into $1500 dollars? I take a deep breath and decide to worry about that later.
My daughter calls from school. She has student council and needs a ride later in the day. Her voice is full of joy and I can't help but smile myself. My heart is warm and thoughts of money and stress disappear. I love you, mom, have a great day, she says.
My heart feels warm. This is what it is all about.
I manage to get through the day, and although I feel like I am about to collapse at 5 p.m., my evening is full of sports, showers, dinner, and cleaning; homework and showers await, so I keep on going.
In between food shopping and soccer practice pick-up, I take Nora, to the library. We are on a tight schedule and of course, to my dismay, there are no open parking spaces close to the front door. I park in the closest spot I can find and my mind is still racing because there just isn't enough time to complete our to-do list before bedtime. I am not even sure how we will make it to hockey pick-up on time. I dream of somehow planning an escape. Just an hour to myself would be nice. I don't know how much longer I can keep up with my life, I think.
As I am stuck in my own self-pity, I feel my daughter's small, soft hand grab mine as she interlocks our fingers. She grabbed my hand as a sign of affection. She grabbed my hand because she loves me, because I am part of her safe place, and because it felt right to her at that moment. She grabbed my hand because she was living in the now and not overcome by worry or self-pity. She grabbed my hand because I am her one and only mom and she loves me unconditionally. My mind stops racing and my pace slows.
My heart warms. This is what it is all about.
We leave the library in a frenzied panic to get to the hockey rink before practice ends. It is almost time to rest. One more pick-up, a quick, late night dinner and then, finally bed. Through exhaustion, I convince myself I can make it just a few more hours. I can do this.
My oldest daughter texts me: Guess what? Our song is on right now and I am trying hard not to sing because we are on the bus with the boys’ team. She is thinking of me. Of us. Of our song Somewhere Over the Rainbow, which serves as a reminder to us to remain grateful and in contact with God.
My heart warms. This is what is all about.
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