It started all right. Pretty good, even. There was time time to play. And everyone got out the door on time without any tears or major episodes. Even if I did almost forget the second snack P. is supposed to bring on mini naturalist days.
Then I busted my butt for the next bunch of hours. Seriously, you should see my to-do list this week. It would blow your mind. But so far so good. I got the important (i.e., paying) stuff done. I even managed to pull all of the winter stuff out of storage when I needed a "break".
And then pickup time rolled around, which was later than on most days because of mini naturalists. That's when everything went straight to hell.
I was supposed to be on a call two and a half minutes after we pulled into the driveway. P. wouldn't get out of the car because I told her she needed to carry her own backpack. That was apparently so horrible of me that when she did come in she was bawling. Okay, fine. I got everyone's shoes off. I put on a movie for Bo. I expected P. would either rush off to play with her dolls (or her iPad) but instead she stopped at the kitchen threshold to ask me, in her most pleading voice, if I wanted to help her with an art project for school.
Which is about when I internally cracked into pieces because when I said no, I couldn't, and I was so sorry I couldn't, she started bawling again. And now I have to say I feel horrible because I wasn't so nice about what came next. By then I was feeling both guilty that I have to work and literally have to say no to spending time with my children constantly plus angry that her reaction was making me late for my call.
A call that, I should add, was interrupted on my end multiple times by Bo raging because he couldn't eat milk and cereal on the couch. But really I think because he was hungry - two bowls of oatmeal demolished - which made me feel even worse.
Then I finally do as much as I can do on the work side without keeling over dead and we finally get through dinner, which involved Bo raging all over again because he wanted me to sit next to him and only him, and bedtime goes haywire (Bo wants me to rechange his diaper and apparently someone was abusing one of the plants and there were more tears) so I'm speed reading stories before yet another call.
I can't even count the number of times me, P., and Bo had to apologize to each other today. For pushing and the sin of failing to share and for yelling and the embarrassing and oh-so-inappropriate moment when I was so frustrated I threw a box of rainboots and Bo looked at me aghast and said "Mama! Why'd you DO that?!"
Normally, even on the bad days, we end on a good note. That's our family's way. We work for it.
But because of that late call I didn't get my one more chance at ending the day with grace. There was no tender moment with Bo - precious in their rarity - because it was lights out so the mister could see to P.'s bedtime routine, which still involves me singing while we snuggle up - except not tonight. There was no chance to ask both kiddos what their favorite part of the day was or for them to tell me the funniest things they saw. I never even got to ask P. what she did at mini naturalists. And I never got to say "ich liebe dich, gute Nacht, schlaf schön."
Today I did all of the things but none of the important ones. That's how it feels, anyway. Maybe tomorrow will be better. Or not. Maybe the lesson here is that I need to seek the grace earlier, before I really need it. Or could be the lesson here is that the pace I'm living at is unsustainable and I'm going to break before too long. Maybe it's both.