Thursday, January 21, 2010

Still Keepin' It Real

I had the cheeriest of posts, a literary one, composed in the noggin yesterday and ready to be written.

Then life happened.

Specifically, at 5:43 p.m., my house was calm and quiet. Dinner was on the stove, the dishwasher stood emptied, vague domestic tranquility reigned. At 5:46 p.m., my children were called in to dinner. One of them made a disparaging comment about the chicken tikka masala on the stove (thank you, Melissa Wiley -- I enjoyed it, at least!). The other two were simultaneously whining, at full volume, in stereo, on two entirely different topics. And Daddy was working late. It was, like, totally awesome.

So awesome, in fact, that I retreated with my dinner outside to watch the sun set and call Vanessa. "My children are driving me completely insane," I reported. We both laughed, and then she briefed on the insanity taking place in her house, which can be summed up as follows: Her two children DO NOT SLEEP.

I'd love to say this moment of maternal bonding made everything all better, but sadly, it all went to hell in the proverbial handbasket shortly thereafter. The car ride to AWANA was like something out of a late-night infomercial entitled: "Why Mommy Needs Tranquilizers." It basically ended up as a shouting contest between my four year old and Noah Adams on All Things Considered. She wanted ice cold water. (ICE COLD, people! Not tepid!) He wanted to deliver the news.

I lay in bed last night still nursing my brittle feelings about the day and reflecting on how my sense of humor could have saved that car ride. Often, when a less savory moment (or series of moments) occurs, it's tempting to call the whole day a giant failure. In reality, of course, it was just that forty five minutes between five forty five and six thirty that we could have done quite nicely without, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. The rest of the day? Anywhere from bearable to lovely.

The Voice of Comforting Reason in my head decided to go treasure hunting. It determined to shine the flashlight on all the moments that had ALSO occurred in that very same day, the moments that belied my feeling of being a victim of a great, glorious train wreck.

1. We woke up. We woke up!

2. We took dinner to Grace, and everyone got to hold Baby Isaac.

3. We read quite a bit of Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown. (Digression: y'all, you can't possibly have a terrible day if you've been reading Betsy and Tacy. I loved every single one of these books, including those recently republished ones with Betsy as a teenager (oh, that Joe with his blond pompadour and his insouciant smile!) when I was growing up. Now, as a parent, I love them again, although there's a slice of me that longingly regrets that my kids will never experience that same simplicity that Betsy and her friends do, pouring out of their houses after supper to play games we've never heard of in the street, meeting at the hitching post, taking picnics for the day as their mothers wave them gaily on their way.

4. We made gliders with different wing shapes in the morning and experimented with flight in the driveway.

5. I visited my secret stash of dark chocolate. Every mother needs one of these.

6. I called on the name of the Lord. No day is wasted when you do that.

7. We got to swing by and visit The Professor at work on our way home from Grace's. Five minutes is better than nothing.

8. He had the kitchen cleaned when we got home from AWANA.

9. We watched a Season 5 Episode of LOST before bed, only to confirm for the 83rd time that while neither of us understands time travel, it sure is fun to discuss it! And ... Season 6 begins February 2!!! (Not that I'm counting the days or anything.)

10. I still love my kids, and they still love me.

So. There's treasure everywhere, and new beginnings every morning.


Samuel said...

Glad you shined the flashlight and went treasure hunting. I will do the same, right now, as the morning was a tough one with the 3 year old.

Sarah N. said...

What a lovely portrait of real life at home with kids, the horrors of those evening moments where you want to go crazy and all the lovely stuff that happens before and after. And I agree that Besty Tacy books make any day better!

Tamara said...

Thanks, Hannah, I needed this post! I'm beginning to see that I'm going to have to learn this flashlight lesson, as well as calling on the Lord (a lot, lot, lot!). Both you and Sam seem to indicate that my 18 month old isn't going to grow up into a polite adult any time soon :) Also, thanks for the Betsy-Tacy recommendation--I will be checking them out next time I'm back :)

cjoy said...

Betsy as a teenager?? Where have I been? At least today is library day in our home....

I love the kinship I felt with you as I read this. Definitely keepin' it real. :) It is truly a universal motherhood experience. And I'm glad the flashlight moments took longer than the breaking points.

(And yes...every mother needs a secret dark chocolate stash!)

Hannah said...

cJoy and anyone else who's interested: The Betsy-as-a-teenager books were republished very recently and as such, may not be in the library yet. Hopefully soon! You can check them out on Amazon; they're two to a volume. The first one is Heaven to Betsy, and it starts when Betsy's a freshman at Deep Valley High. Lots of fun!

Kelly said...

Great post. Us moms do have times that we want to pull our hair out, but each day is truly a blessing. As you showed, you can always fine something (many things) good in the day!
Your car ride reminds me of when I'd pick my daughter up from preschool. It seriously took her five minutes each day just to buckle (she'd play instead). I was so frustrated at first, but then I thought, I really have nowhere to rush to and each day put on a song with the chorus "I'm just sitting in my car and waiting for my girl!" So I turned a frustrating moment each day into a listen to a song moment. BAd Part: She's still a lollygagger three years later!

cjoy said...

Ah well...I glanced at the list and saw some about Emily at Valley View and Betsy's Wedding...but as it was there were only two of the earlier ones in our branch today. I got them both for pleasure reading. :) Nostalgia...

madelyn said...

Thanks for visiting me earlier Hannah! Great post. I remember when I was in management hearing that you had to be seven times more positive as negative for people to perceive you as a positive person. You did a great job regaining your perspective after those hair-pulling moments!

Shalet said...

Excellent treasure hunting!

Bear Creek Mama said...

I love this post....thank you! I am forever wrecking my train and lying in the wreckage. I must remember my flashlight! and to call on His name - Wonder of Wonders.....