Lightstock photo by Lisa R. Howeler
It’s the end of a very long day and all I can think is:
Did I pay attention to them enough today?
Did I listen to them?
Do they know I love them?
Was I too distracted?
Too overwhelmed with other things that were not important?
The answer to some of those questions are ‘no’ and some are ‘yes’ and my heart aches as I scroll in my mind back through the day, recalling moments of failure, playing it all back like an old movie reel.
It’s summer and bedtime seems to be later and later each night. It also makes days longer and breaks of quit time for me non-existent. No stolen moments to recharge leaves me mentally depleted, drained, overwhelmed.
I want to try to embrace these long days as a gift – more time with them – instead of resenting the loss of free time. Some days I do but often I fail.
She’s laying next to me in a diaper, finally asleep after begging to hold a flashlight at bedtime that she kept shining in me eyes, asking to turn a light on, lay on one side of the bed instead of the other, anything to not have to actually lay down. There is red and green and blue streaks of marker on her legs and belly from when she drew on herself earlier in the day.
I mentally chide myself for not giving her a bath to scrub off all the mess but then I smile as I look at it with the light of the phone and think about her wild spirit, her determination, her laughter when she found me to ask “how do I look?” after she’d drawn on her skin.
Her stubbornness often has my emotions knotted up in frustration. She insists she no longer needs naps but without one she bristles like a bear at the smallest provoking.
Today she refused a nap, yet I knew if we left the house to do something she’d cry and cling and it would be clear she had needed the nap.
“I just can’t do this anymore!” I told her, finally at the end of my rope.
“Yes you can!” She declared, leaning in close. “Be brave.”
The irony was not lost on me that I’ve been listening to a series of sermons imploring us to “be brave.”
Be brave when we are anxious.
Be brave when we doubt.
Be brave when we don’t understand.
Be brave when nothing seems to be going right.
Be brave when dreams are lost.
Be brave when inadequacy rules your feelings.
Be brave and embrace the moments that don’t fit where you thought they should.
Embrace the unexpected, the changes, the winding trails through motherhood and life.
The saying is true – the days are long but the years are short.
It wasn’t long ago he was two instead of ten. He was stubborn and tough and full of energy.
He and I survived those long days when I embraced our time together, accepting some days would be long, some days too short.
Maybe instead of seeing a day as long I need to see it as full.
Full is good.
Full is positive.
Full is life.
Even long is good.
Long is more.
Long is more time for hugs.
Long is more time for learning.
Long is more laughter.
Long is more moments, more smiles, more touches, more life lived fully alive.