Lately, I have had quite a few days where I just don't feel like I'm succeeding. I am not the mom I want to be. Fun activities are far too easy to put aside for another tv show. We don't bake. Science experiments get planned, then forgotten. Learning games often stress me out until I give up, certain that I will make him hate learning (and me) if I continue. Anxiety makes everything overwhelming. And the first trimester of pregnancy means that if I'm not panicked, I'm exhausted. For almost three months, now, I have had more bad days than good.
Today is a good day.
This morning, I woke after a good night's sleep, to a calm, happy child and a clean house (thank God for Stacey, who cleaned it last night). I made my to-do list, careful to keep it short. Three things. That was manageable. Laundry, Grocery Shopping, and Getting ready for tonight's performance. Goals within the realm of possibility.
I sipped my coffee and made a shopping list. I threw in a load of laundry, while Miles played trains in the next room, and folded the clothes I had left sitting in the dryer. Within minutes, Miles and I moved upstairs to put the clothes away, and I was struck with the urge to clean my dresser to make room for my maternity pants, and my winter clothes. Miles was still happily playing quietly, so I took the opportunity to tidy up my bedroom a bit, finding homes for things that (I hate to admit) had been on the floor for weeks. The tidying done, I got dressed, and got Miles ready for the day. I switched over the laundry and threw in another load, then bundled Miles into the car to go grocery shopping. It was 10:30, and I'd already done more than I accomplish in a full day, usually.
Our car rides tend to be quiet affairs - Miles loves to stare out the window, and I am generally happy to just listen to music and drive. Today, however, I left the radio off, and we chatted the whole way, mostly about nonsense. Miles asked for a story, and I began The Bremen Town Musicians. It was one of my favorite stories as a kid, but as I began to tell it, I realized I remembered the beginning and the end, but none of the middle. So, I made it up as I went, and was surprised to find that Miles loved it. We made animal noises at the top of our voices, and giggled.
At the store, Miles helped by jealously guarding the list, and occasionally allowing me a peek at it. We talked about every item we picked up, and he insisted on putting everything in the cart. I realized how rare it is for us to just chat in the grocery store. I'm usually so anxious that he's going to have a meltdown that I inevitably cause one. Today, we were relaxed, and the time flew - even the long wait at the checkout went quickly.
As we loaded the car with our things, Miles very clearly asked, "Mommy, eat at Donald's?" Given the morning we'd had so far, I was in no mood to deny him anything. I wasn't ready for the fun to end.
We sat in a booth and giggled over his Scooby Doo bucket. We prayed over our food, and teased each other, pretending to steal french fries and chicken nuggets from one another. At one point, he leaned over and whispered, "Psst. Mommy. Guess what?" "What?" I asked. "Love ooo!" he whispered, and gave me a kiss. And my heart promptly melted into my shoes.
We chatted the whole way home, and he helped me carry in the groceries, before rubbing his eyes and asking for "Nap." I tucked him in, kissed his cheek, and sang to him, watching his eyes grow heavy. Holding my hand, he whispered, "Love ooo, Mommy," and drifted off.
And in that moment, I knew that today, above all days, I am the Mommy he deserves.