I had plans today. I had a list prepared and an itinerary. We actually got to sleep in and I got out of bed with high hopes that today was going to be a good day. Today was going to go as planned, filled with smiles and laughing and jokes and conversations about trucks as we drove about town, checking things off our list one by one.
I had to let all of that go today. I had to fold my list and tuck it away for later, revise my itinerary and change my plans. Today was not the day for it all.
It started out with a battle over breakfast. He wanted cake (leftover birthday pie) and I wanted him to have something at least slightly nutritious. Half an hour later he had a small sliver of pie next to his piece of french toast with blueberries sprinkled on top of it all.
Things were going along fine as he helped me go through and reorganize my sock drawer (which a small black spider decided to run into yesterday, propelling me to either burn the contents and start over or pull on rubber gloves and go through it piece by piece). We even caught the garbage truck as it rumbled down our street, leaving the front door swinging as we raced outside to run along beside it.
And then on the way back home, he tripped in his oversized cowboy boots and skinned his knee and this turned into a 45 minute temper tantrum. No, he did not want a kiss or a band-aid. No, he would not put on socks with his boots. No, he would not put on flip-flops but once he finally did he was terribly upset all over again when I called them his lobster flip-flops (because they have lobsters one them…) and not his monster flip-flops (because apparently the lobsters are actually monsters).
I held him as he cried, as he screamed at me, as he attempted to get his way. No, I would not go outside until he calmed down. No, I would not stand up but would gladly sit and hold him until he felt better. No, I would not let him hit me. No, I would not leave.
We read a story because he saw it on the wall and wanted to read a story and we rocked in the rocking chair until his eyes finally closed and his ragged breathing finally evened itself out.
I took a deep breath and let it all go today. I let my plans go, I let me anger fall away, I allowed myself to accept that this morning was hard, that I was not a perfect parent, that this was not going to be a perfect day…except that in a way it was. It was a perfectly imperfect day of Motherhood.
Being a mother means that sometimes you have to let it all go, let your plans change, allow yourself to get angry and then forgive yourself, stick to your guns even when it’s hard, even when it means holding a screaming child, wanting to burst into tears yourself and feeling like you have no clue what to do and then just continuing to sit there and be present, to keep going. It means laying in a toddler bed, in the middle of the day or in the middle of the night, with your body scrunched around theirs, your head resting half on the headboard and half on your arm which is falling asleep and you have to pee but still you don’t move because they need you to be there so they can relax and fall asleep. And when their eyes finally close and their breathing evens out and their hand, which has been ferociously gripping the neck of your shirt, finally falls softly away, you stroke their hair with tingling fingers and still you don’t move because as you stare at their peaceful, sleeping face, you feel the tremendous love you have for them. You feel the soul shaking, heart shattering love that rocks you to your very core and you simply can not imagine being anywhere else.
This is motherhood. These are the perfectly imperfect days.