Both children are in bed. Walking downstairs after turning off their lights, I thought I either should face plant and not get up, or be met by a massive crowd holding out icy cups of Gatorade and slapping me on the back -- yes, yes, against all odds, you MADE it.
Instead I was greeted by a small mountain of sweatshirts and jackets piled on the couch from our walk.
I spent literally hours of the day crouched next to a crib trying to help a 5 month old fall asleep. She never did. Until now, after I snuck in with a laptop playing lullabies, held down her little flailing hands (for a long time!) while trying not to make eye contact, and popped a pacfier in her slippery little mouth too many times to count, she FINALLY fell asleep.
In the middle of the day, --after a wakeful night, after both my kids were rejected from the church nursery at separate times (one for a runny nose, the other because she refused to nap and was hungrily chewing on everyone's hands), after Eden again refused to sleep at home, after Silas woke up an hour early from his nap in a bad mood -- I sat on the couch nursing Eden the Resister while Silas sabotaged the train track we (I) had just built saying "Oh no! Oh NO!" with great passion as he threw each piece, and I felt pretty sure I couldn't possibly make it to dinner. Every ounce of patience and creativity in my body was spent, and I closed my eyes and sank into the couch (2 year olds are lucky that they disappear when they close their eyes-- that would have been ideal).
What do you do when you can't go on and the two other people in the room can't survive in a living room without you? I remembered reading that smiling when you feel awful does something to your brain to make you feel better. So sitting there with my eyes closed, nursing squirmy Eden, listening to Silas insist I rebuild his track that "broke," I smiled. It was such a tiny smile that I'm pretty sure anyone looking at me would have missed it. But it was there. And I remembered that thankfulness creates contentment and counters anxiety. So I started being listing any reason I was thankful for this spot on the couch. Thank you for this fat baby who isn't asleep but is well. Thank you for Silas who for this teeny moment adores me and wants nothing more than for me to tackle him and play trains and pretend I can't find him when he sits behind me. Thank you that I'm home with them, that we have this brief time of together before school years kick in. Thank you...
And you know, the skies didn't part and a shaft of sunlight didn't cut into my living room. But, 20 minutes later I caught myself laughing as I danced for Silas and chased him up the stairs tickling him over and over. Something had shifted, and I made it to dinner.