You know those days that start off nice and peachy? The weather is just right, the air rich with birdsong. You’re on a high from your morning run and the coffee has been brewed oh so perfectly. You can picture your entire day unfolding ahead of you in beautifully sectioned groups of work, family and leisure.
Suddenly the birds stop singing. You don’t think much of it. Then you trip over a toy and stub your toe. No biggie. Then your next chore is interrupted by the insurance company doing a random check on whether you still on their umbrella coverage, oh and by the way Ma’am, would you like to upgrade to our platinum-let-us-fondle-your-wallet plan?
Deep breaths. Disconnect the call and move on.
And then a series of seemingly minor things go wrong. The cleaners call in sick. The sink suddenly won’t drain. One kid pitches a fit over a sticker. You forgot you left the
ice cream greek yogurt out on the counter all night. You have to pee but the other kid is now gnawing your leg, begging for the Ipad right now!
Faster breaths. Faster. Now you’re hyperventilating. Great. Just great.
Add to the above scenario a persistent flu and a heavily shrill cough. And that in a nutshell was my day today.
Button has been nursing a cold as well so it was understandable that he was relying heavily on the comfort of his routine. Due to a series of tiny mishaps, his structure was all messed up. So he let me know his displeasure loudly and articulately, using appropriate nouns/tense/sentence structure (Yay for speech therapy). I tried explaining the situation to him calmly and then in a progressively panicky voice; but of course now I’ve missed my exit (oh did I mention I was driving in rush hour), and I feel like flopping on the ground and screaming! Of course I cannot, so I just put on my fake perky voice and keep driving. “Oh my goodness, did you see that excavator over there?”, I point blindly. Button’s not convinced, but he thankfully doesn’t ignore my efforts and we keep up the all’s-good-here-folks charade till we get home. A few hundred tantrums later, the kids are down for the night and I’m sitting down looking like the ‘before’ picture in an antidepressant commercial.
Days like this, you don’t try to win. You don’t try to fix things too much. Emotions run high and peace is so fragile. You just hunker down and wait for the storm to pass because tomorrow maybe still sucky, but at least you’ve clocked some hours of sleep in between. You hug your husband, vent to your sister, make yourself a nice carby meal and switch on your Netflix. Its ok to hate the unpredictability of your days and it can be downright cathartic to have a mini breakdown. My kids are allowed to have lousy days and so am I. I’m human and I cannot pretend to be perfect. They are incredibly perceptive and will see through my hokey act in a second. So I let them see my vulnerabilities and hope they see that it’s ok to be a little crumpled and frayed at the end of a weird kind of day.
I know Button will wake up tomorrow, excited to start a new day, with nary a shadow of today’s upheaval. He’s 7, he’s resilient. He’ll act silly and I’ll chase him around. We’ll joke around, giggle about trivial things and generally have a perfectly normal day.
But tonight. Tonight we don’t fight. We sit back and we heal. So that the birds can sing again tomorrow.