I took a day off yesterday.
But I didn’t sleep in. I still woke at 5am for my holy hour – time to curl up in our comfy living room chair and just read, journal and – gasp! – even think. Hard to do with your own business, three kids, and a spouse you’d like to connect with over more than what parenting crisis we needed to solve that day.
By 6:30, the kids began to stir. I clamped down on my first instinct – to frantically finish setting the table before racing upstairs to pry them from their beds, help them pick weather-appropriate clothes and get downstairs with enough time to snarf breakfast.
Instead, I stretched – a decadent, full-body stretch that seemed to last for hours. Then I retreated to the basement study to – double gasp! – write. Above me, I heard Lori chiding the kids to move their groggy selves just a wee bit faster. There were, of course, protests. And by the time they all reached the kitchen, these minor protests had escalated to a full assault on Lori’s parental authority.
“We need more brown sugar, Mommy. It tastes funny.”
“You don’t. It’s oatmeal and quinoa and you’ll eat it.”
I heard a spoon skitter across the dining room table before hitting the hardwood floor that separated me from the rest of the family.
“Throwing silverware is not acceptable in this house, Olivia.”
There was no separation between me and my daughter’s screaming response….or Lori’s increasingly clipped replies. And while it was tempting to run up to the first floor, and fling my body between the warring factions to negotiate some sort of peace settlement, I didn’t.
It was part of the agreement Lori and I had made at the start of the year: at least once a month, we got the entire day off. No wake up duty, no school drop-off, no afternoon pickup, no activity shuttling, no dinner recap.
So I sat, waiting for the inevitable détente that arrives just as everyone realizes that they have less than five minutes to leave the house if they want to get to school on time. This was the rhythm of our lives and hearing it from afar, I couldn’t help but smile.
For every argument the boys had about who was going sit closer to their sister, one of them would pour her milk while the other held her cup steady. When they weren’t jostling for a turn at the bathroom sink, the kids were high-fiving one another for the smallest things – clearing the table without being asked, putting a coat on by oneself, or remembering to grab a lunchbox. While Nick spread toothpaste for everyone and Gabe gathered the boots from the mudroom, Olivia grabbed books for them to read in the car.
(Often, the boys put the books back and chose ones themselves, but they didn’t let Olivia see them do it.)
I watched them through the basement window, walking hand in hand to the car. Another successful morning…and there’d been nothing for me to do but watch it unfold.
It’s so hard to see the beauty of one’s life when you’re in the midst of it. To see the miraculous in the mundane. Yesterday was such a gift, a chance to appreciate how privileged I am to parent these kids, and how fortunate I am to share the experience with such a loving partner.
I took a day off yesterday.
And the world didn’t stop.
Instead, it only got better.