This morning I asked Matt for an immediate half hour of time off to write. I had just finished my breakfast. He was just starting his. Audrey bounced around demanding bits of his smoked salmon and bagel, simultaneously elbowing her brother in the ribs as she muscled her way in between dining chairs to be closer to Daddy's food. I regretted sticking Matt with both kids before he'd finished his coffee. But I do not want today to be like yesterday. I must approach today with whatever dregs of desire for holistic family wellness I can scrape together. So here I am.
I am trying some of the tricks I've learned over the past year and forgotten the less I "needed" them. As I lay in bed this morning trying to ignore Audrey climbing all over me, I made a small intention to get out of bed without complaining. To make the dear child her bowl of Organic Toasted Oats with tolerance if not blissful maternal love. And then see what happened.
I placed a warm sweater over her thin shoulders and offered socks. She shook her head. Together, we descended the stairs. I looked around. I saw at least five things to put away, throw away, organize, rearrange. Remembering a rule I made for myself a year ago, No chores before coffee, I made a conscious decision to walk past the wadded tissue paper, empty cardboard boxes, and pine needles on the floor. Audrey toddled right up to the Christmas tree and swiftly beheaded a toy soldier. Then she began her usual demanding-customer routine: "I want cereal. I want some milk. Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, I want my vitamin. I want some breakfast." Now, when I'm grumpy, I ignore her for awhile while making my coffee, then snap at her because her begging has reached a fever pitch, then dutifully serve her the motherfucking whatever she wants while complaining about the lousy tips around here. But let's start today differently.
I kept my voice low. I responded to my little urchin calmly, looking at her in the eyes. (Make eye contact is another of my almost-forgotten rules for sanity.) I set her up with food immediately in order to distract her from vandalizing the Christmas tree. She was occupied. I was relaxed.
I scanned the front page of the newspaper. This is against one of my rules, Ignore the news until lunchtime, but I did it anyway because Western Washington is in a state of crisis and I wanted to know the latest news. (Seven dead, 50 hospitalized for carbon monoxide poisoning, homes split in half by fallen trees.) And then I just needed to write for awhile.
Ask for what you need.
Can I make a better day today? Can I enjoy the children today? Can I let them off the hook as well as myself?
Can I give my husband three uninterrupted hours in front of the Patriots game?
Well, one thing at a time.