Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Normal Day.

I have been having a terrible time with my 5-year-old lately.

She seems to be desperately stuck between two worlds: on the one hand, she can carry on a sophisticated conversation about a very mature subject to the point that you forget you're talking to a kid; and on the other hand, she has taken to extremely babyish meltdowns over the most trivial (in my opinion) things (i.e., my telling her that she's taking too long washing her hands and needs to hurry up). Whenever she crumples to the floor, loudly wailing and dramatically quivering her bottom lip, I find myself exploding onto her with frustration. HOW CAN YOU BE SUCH A BIG GIRL AND SUCH A BABY AT THE SAME TIME?

And yet.

Sometimes, when the kids are finally all asleep, and the house is quiet, and I have a minute to reflect on how stressed I was that day, and how many times I caught myself yelling at the kids, and how I at one point resorted to sitting outside on the front steps so that the kids wouldn't see me crying with exasperation.... I realize that I don't really have anything to be upset about at all.

The "problems" of my day are ones that many moms, who find themselves in far, far more dire straits, would kill to have.

I have two friends whose children were recently diagnosed with significant medical problems. Those women have had their worlds turned upside down. I experience their pain, for fleeting moments at a time, through their anguished status updates. And then I go back to pulling my hair out because my three children can't stop tattling on each other for five minutes.

And that's more than a little bit crazy.

So I have been moved to revisit these two little nuggets of wisdom, the first one brought into my life by, if I remember correctly,, and the second, by The video clip is a few minutes long but I don't think you'll regret taking the time. And even if you've seen it before, I find it still makes an impact, even upon repeat viewing.

The next time, then, that I find myself sitting on the doorstep gritting my teeth in what feels like madness, I hope I will remember these messages, and go back inside and hug my kids. 'Cuz even when a normal day absolutely SUCKS, it's still a normal day, and for that I need to be more grateful. xo.

Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it will not always be so. One day, I may dig my nails in the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want more than all the world--your return.
-Jean Irion


  1. Good post. Here's the thing though, a normal day IS exasperating. And while those clips make you thank your lucky stars, and be more grateful, it is in no way a reason to beat yourself up about being frustrated by the normal things. I say this from experience. We have a child with a significant medical problem, and I am thankful for the normal days. But I also get to my wits end when for the five millionth time, he floods the bathroom washing his hands...
    Good post. Thanks.

  2. That was beautiful and so true, and so hard to appreciate in the moment. Maybe this will help a little though, my son's teacher says those horrible temper tantrums over nothing that your child just can't seem to get over are the sign of a gifted child. :) So smile inside as you think about her following you to Princeton and/or Harvard, take a deep breath and keep on moving.

  3. When my older son has a meltdown like this, I try REALLY HARD to remember the "tantrums" I sometimes throw on a hectic day--and it reminds me that even *I* get upset about insanely stupid stuff sometimes, so why should I expect any less from my 3 year old?! It's good to remember that every ordinary day is special, but don't get down on yourself for getting exasperated! It's just par for the course--although that is hard to remember sometimes in the thick of it :)

  4. mommy, i miss you. hope your absence on the web is due to too much summer fun and nothing more than that. this full-(over-)time working mom misses your musings on full-time motherhood, which put things into a great perspective for me. wishing all is well, anonymom