The days are long

Lightstock photo by Lisa R. Howeler 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 strict?

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.

A camping trip and the bed of torture | Wyalusing PA photographer

Last week my dad took my son and his friend camping down at the bottom of the field in front of his house, behind the pond. My daughter and I stayed up in the house where I learned how incredibly uncomfortable adjustable beds can really be and how miserable toddlers can be when they have a virus but their mom has no idea it is a virus.

Staying over was impromptu for Little Miss and I which meant an impromptu trip to the little town near us for some take out at the only place in that one stop light town that offers take out. My parenting was put to the test when Little Miss decided she would prefer to explore the town instead of pick up our food and go back to her grandparents and actually eat it. 

She threw a tantrum and then I threw one and eventually we sat down at a table outside the little restaurant and attempted to make peace. My mom and aunts supper was getting cold, though, so I finally had to drive her home, with her screaming like a crazy person the whole five miles and me crying like the sometimes mentally unstable mom I am. 

Bedtime was more than welcome an couple hours later until I realized sleeping on my dads bed could be compared to sleeping on a bed of nails. Everywhere I turned I seemed to hit another hard spot. Then I rolled unknowingly on to the remote and suddenly my now angelic sleeping toddler and I were being folded in half inside the bed. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to adjust the bed so their head is crushed into their knees but apparently someone enjoys this because the bed allows for such a position to be achieved. Maybe it is to help yoga students complete some position they’ve been trying to get into. 

Here I was at some ungodly hour, flapping my hands in the covers wildly, desperately trying to find the remote to avoid us being crushed and Little Miss, who I had nicknamed “little nightmare” for the day, being awakened and reminded she wasn’t at home and decided she wanted to wake up and play with my grandmother’s bottle collection.

Luckily the remote was found fairly quickly and Little Miss slept through all the drama.
In the morning I called Dad to be sure the bear that had been visiting the property hadn’t eaten him or the boys. They were all fine except I was fairly certain Dad had decided he was pass his days of camping out and maybe doing so three months after knee replacement wasn’t the best decision after all. 

Little Miss and I found the boys fishing by the pond when we used the golf cart to reach them. My son told me peeing in the night had been an adventure while he stumbled in the dark. His friend had less of an adventure with his middle of the night peeing needs and instead simply opened the tent door and peed out of it, he told me. This story was not well received by my mom who said everyone had probably walked in the pee when they took their middle of the night bathroom journey. 

Overall the experience was a success- for the boys at least – and especially my son who thought all of it was “great” especially cooking over a fire, peeing on trees, and fishing even if they didn’t catch anything.