This was a difficult week in some ways. Ken was away and this one felt harder than the last one. On Monday, while I was putting breakfast together, I found a tupperware of food I had meal prepped the night before in the cupboard instead of the fridge. I had a pimple smack in the middle of my cheek, a deep cut on one of my fingers from a cooking incident, and Monday was also the day that my belly said "NO" to pants, loud and clear. I basically spent the latter part of the day with my pants unbuttoned at work. On Tuesday, Sloane let me know that she was going to need 99% of my attention all week and I lost my patience with her and also at work. On Wednesday I overslept (in an attempt to wake up extra early), and that was the morning that Sloane had a couple of meltdowns, a hundred different requests and then spilled milk all over herself just as we were about to leave house. On Thursday I overslept again, this time because Sloane kept waking up in the middle of the night and no one got much sleep that night.
Sloane being ornery and extra particular once in a while is not new, and it's manageable when I've gotten sleep and when I'm not running late everywhere, but when that's not the case, what is a normal toddler off day seems like the catalyst for a downward spiral. This little girl is usually so good, responsive and communicative that I'm always thanking all of my lucky stars and the God in heaven who made her. But lo and behold, I'm also flesh and bone, often flanked by to-do lists and anxiety, with limited sleep and limited time, and during a week when Sloane seems to need a little extra time and attention (because Ken is away again? because we just told her about baby? just because?), those things all collide into a jumble of frustration; with me being the one that desperately needs a time out.
It's funny though, and this must be how it's designed in the first place, that even after the roughest of mornings, there happen those moments of unbearable sweetness that can soothe like a balm. The way she yelps, "TWUCK!" with pure delight, the way she asks if I'm happy, the way she sings along to her favorite song, the way she asks me ten really funny questions in a row, the way she asks if I'm going to come back to get her after school, the way she says, "I wuv mommy and daddy", the way she hugs me as tight as she can when I drop her off. It feels like being forgiven, it feels like grace.
You know, and this is why I write. Writing through the day to day does this thing of keeping me on high alert, to appreciate. Zadie Smith said, "The very reason I write is so that I might not sleepwalk through my entire life." That's my mojo too. I also write because it saves me. During the mundane, the disappointments, the depression, the celebratory times, and the peaceful times, writing saves me from myself- that part of myself that can hide or deny or justify in ways that are unhealthy and leads to nowhere. Writing gives perspective and often leads to the truth (even fiction; a story is a story, human nature is human nature), often lets me settle deep into myself without the ego, helps me take stock of the vastness and boundaries and tempers the wild thorns and weeds of my thoughts.
And hey! taking pictures has become more and more of a useful tool to me, too. The practice of capturing simple moments like this one, on a beauitful day, when we went to go eat a delicious breakfast at a diner near the oceanfront with Ken's mom and sister, is a sort of lesson in giving thanks for the simple ritual of being together and enjoying a meal.
When she got up on here, she said, "I'm so big and tall!" and, "I'm so brave!" She was real proud of herself.
Then she wanted to take a photo of us, and right before she snapped she said, "Say, "I'm so brave!"" in a sing-song voice.
And speaking of being saved from myself, being a mom to this amazing girl, that's also what is saving me.