This afternoon, as everything was dragging on as it usually does with Sebastian asking me to build things with him and me putting him off since I had a million things to do, not the least of which was start dinner, we all gravitated toward the kitchen. Adele pulled out Sebastian’s old radio, the one that has ‘Bingo’ and ‘If you’re happy and you know it’ on repeat, and turned it on. And we sang along to it for a song or two, but then Sebastian wanted to listen to my radio.
I knew that this was the worst part of our day, every day. The kids were hungry and grumpy and Sebastian had spent the entire day without a nap, even though his body still requires one but his mind refuses to follow suit. It was my time to watch the clock, too, wanting some kind of relief from a day spent with young children, even if they are my own. So I knew we needed something to pick us up, to stop all of our self-pitying. So I put on Florence and the Machine, and turned it loud, as Sebastian insisted, and we started dancing as wildly as we could, all of us squealing with laughter.
It’s been a trying week. I guess no more than usual, but it’s been one of those where it’s difficult for me to loosen up and have fun, to be silly and goofy and everything that my little ones need me to be. I tend to spend too much of my day thinking of all the things I need to get done, thinking of how I can keep the kids occupied to in order to attempt my to-do list. Or I plot to find a little bit of time to myself then feel guilty about it when I do.
Too little of my time is focused entirely on the children, but more so this week. Some days I just don’t want to be here. Some days I wish someone would come in and take over all of my responsibilities so that I could do nothing but read all day, or nothing but sit in a bar with my friends, drinking and laughing. But that doesn’t happen. So instead I give about 20 percent to everything, children included.
But today, as we turned up the music louder, and louder, and even louder, I wanted to scoop up this feeling, this moment, and put in their pockets. I wanted them to remember this, our happiness, our laughter, our dancing and singing. I wanted them to remember how good we all felt, for that short spell. So when they are older and wiser, and maybe even the tiniest bit bitter that their mother didn’t do all that they thought she should have, they will pull this memory out, dust it off, and feel again that unabashed joy that we all felt together. And even though I am so far from perfect and my temper is quicker than I’d like, and my patience is thin more often than it should be, maybe they will see that I loved them. That even though I did not always focus all of my energy on them as much as they’d like, that I loved being with them, that I loved to sing and dance and laugh with them.
That I wanted it to always be that way, too.