John’s shift ended at 4pm today, but I wasn’t surprised when he didn’t get home until 6. It’s the name of the game when you’re an ER doc; as much as I gripe about it, I get it. I also get it when he doesn’t have time to return my comparatively trivial texts: “When you get home, may I go for a run? I need time.”
But my patience was wearing thin. The girls and I had a beautiful day together, including a fabulously messy brunch in the park with some friends and a ton of outdoor time. Getting them in the car to go home was an exercise of wills. Though I got them both napping for 20-30 minutes at the same time, I had hardly made a dent picking up after the tornado of our morning routine. I had just poured a cup of coffee when I heard Ari’s bedroom door slam open.
They were charming as hell during our excursion to Trader Joe’s, especially appreciated since I ran into one of my professors. (The promise of scratch-n-sniff stickers at the cashier’s is a strong incentive when you’re two-and-a-half.) But as soon as we got to the car, Evie was inconsolable, and Ari refused to leave the “castle” she was building with mulch chips on the street curb. And I was hot, sticky, and tired.
John got home, encouraged me to go for a run, but Ari needed a snack since dinner was going to be pushed back until after bedtime in order to facilitate such run (I know, I know…not excellent or selfless decision-making). Ari wanted a yogurt squisher and assured me that she would eat the whole thing. I opened one for her. She took two sips, then “all done!” and went to throw the rest in the trash.
“Stop.” She paused but kept going and opened the trash can.
“Ari, stop please.” She persisted this time without hesitation and threw the rest of the yogurt package in the trash.
And I lost it. I grabbed the yogurt out of the trash and proceeded to give her a lecture about wasting food that I’m sure mostly confused her. I threw it back in the trash, stormed upstairs, and face-planted on our bed. I closed my eyes. Not my finest hour.
A few minutes later I heard her little, not-so-subtle feet (how someone less than 30 pounds can make so much noise walking barefoot is impressive) climbing the stairs with John behind her. She cautiously walked into our bedroom, climbed on the bed and rested her head on my chest: “I’m sorry, Mommy. I love you.” John told me that she got the rest of the yogurt package out of the trash herself and finished what was remaining. Ugh!–I’m the bitch who made my daughter feel like she needed to eat out of the trash.
I love that I have two healthy daughters who, to the best of my knowledge, seem to be developing into decent human beings, and I am lucky that (at least for now) they are quick to forgive my many imperfections (and tantrums of my own). And I love that I have a partner who helps me work toward being a better parent, never chastises me when I fall short, and encourages me to be kind to myself in the process.
I went for a run at 6:30 this evening–35 minutes of uninterrupted alone time in an arboretum. We didn’t eat until 7:45, and the kids were in bed potentially by 9. Could be worse.
I have mixed feelings about this “holiday.” My sister and I always text each other when we get one of those random “call your mother” comments from strangers. I think it will always be hard, and my heart goes out to the many for whom I’m sure this day is much, much harder. I’m grateful for all the loved ones who reached out to me today. This one was the best of the last 15 for me.